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[^ THE 



CASTES AND TRIBES 



OF 



H. E. H. THE NIZAM'S DOMINIONS 

o 
Z 

BY 

SYED SIRAJ UL HASSAN 

Of Merton College, Oxford, Trinity College, Dublin, and 
Middle Temple, London. 

One of the Judges of H. E. H. the Nizam's High Court 
of Judicature : Lr tely Director of Public Instruction. 



Volume I 



BOMBAY 

THE tlMES PRESS 

1920 



^ PREFACE. '' ^ ^ 

This work was undertaken with great enthusiasm, jf not by 
•'myself certainly ""by a devoted band, headed by the late Mr. Kale 
of the Educational Department, who travelled through the Domi- 
nions and thus obtained at first hand valuable information regarding 
the Tribes and Castes that inhabit the Hyderabad Deccan : I 
» followed them, not everywhere but as far as I was able, to check 
their investigations and revise the monographs prepared by Mr. 
Kale. The Fates were against us from the outset : a serious affection 
of the eyes — not to mention my official and numerous other engage- 
ments — made> me despair of these pages ever seeing the light of day. 
A more severe loss was the sudden death of Mr. Kale when the 
last pages^of the draft lay before him. If kind friends had not 
come :Jo my assistance, I could not have consented to the publica- 
tion of the work at all, despite the gentle and kindly pressure of 
the Department of Finance which had entrusted me with the work. 
I am, however, hopeful that the material which has been collected 
may afford others an opportunity of contributing, in better shape 
^and form, to ethnographic literature. 

D I must acknowledge my indebtedness to the learned gentleman 
who produced similar work in Bombay, for to make our own efforts 
complete, we had to look for help from the other side with regar(i 
to such castes as the "Ahirs" and others, who' are to be found in 
the fronti^t districts of Khandesh and Nasik. I would have 
acknowledged in detail the various monographs from which we 
borrowed; but as Mr. Kale is no more, I am hardly in a position 
to do so. My thanks are especially due to my old and capable 
friend Mr. J. E. Lee, who very kindly saw the work through the 
Press; also to Mr. Shawcross for looking over some of the articles 
as they came from the Typist. 

A word of thanks to the eminent Surgeon Oculist who attended 
me will not be out of place; for it is due entirely to the great skill 
of Dr. Duggan that I am able to read these pages at all. No 
further apology is needed to the readers of these monographs when 
they know under what physical strain I had to bring out the work. 
Its deficiencies will no douJ)t be patent and I shall always be grate- 
ful for friendly criticism which will help to improve a later edition. 

o ' s"s. H. 



CONTENTS. 

Page 

I— Ahir : ... , 1 

II— Andh 8 

III— Are Katika 12 

IV— Banjara 15 

V— Barai 28 

VI— Bedar 34 

VII.-Bhadbhunja 44 

VIII— Bhamta 48 

• IX— Bhandari 51 

• X— Bhat 53 

XI— Bhatraja 56 

XII— Bhavsar 60 

XIII— Bhil 66 

XIV— Bhoi 77 

XV— Bhute 88 

. XVI— Bogam 91 

XVII— Bprul 96 

XVIII— Brahman 99 

XIX— Budbudke 134 

X>^— Burud 135 

XXI— Chakla or Dhobi 143 

XXII— Chanchu 149 

XXIII— Darji 153 

XXIV— Dasri 157 

XXV— Devanga 162 

XXVI— Dhangar 166 

XXVlII— Dhor 171 

XXVIII— Domara 177 

XXIX— Erakala 185 

XXX— Gavli 196 

XXXI— Ghisadi 201 

XXXII— Golia .J , 204 

XXXIII— Gond '. ... ^.. 216 

XXXIV— Gondhali 233 

XXXV— Gopai 237 



CONTENTS. 



XXXVI— Goundala ... 
XXXVIl— Hatkar 
XXXVIII— Jain 
XXXIX — Jingar 
XL — Jogi 
XLI — Johari 
XLII— Joshi 
XLIII— Kachhi 
XLIV— Kahar 
XLV— Kalal 
XLVI— Kapu 
XLVII— Kasar 
XLVIII— Kayasth 
XLIX— Khatik 
L — Khatri 
LI— Koli 
Lll — Komti 
LIII— Kummara 
LIV — Kuruma 

LV— Kurmi 

LVI— Lalbeji 

LVII — Lingayit 

LVIII— Lodhe 

LIX — Lonari 

LX— Madiga 
LXI— Mahar 
LXII— Mala 
LXIII— Mali 
LXIV— Mali Gujarathi 

LXV— Manbhao 
LXVl— Mang 
LXVII— Mangala or Barber 
LXVIII— Mang Garodi 
LXIX— Maratha ' ... 
LXX — Marwadi (Bania) 
LXXI — Mendicant Telegas 



Page. 
240 ^ 
248 
256 
273 
278 , 
286 
290 
297 
300 c 
303 
'306 
320 
322 
326 
328 
332^ 
340 
357 
362 
370 
380 
383 
400 
404 
409 
421 
428 
439 
447 
450 
458 
463 
469 
473 
492 
503 



CONTENTS. 

• Page, 

LXXII— Mochi ,. ... 508 

LXXIII— Mondiwadu ^515 

LXXIV— Munur 518 

LXXV—Muttasi 525 

• LXXVI— Otari 532 

LXXVII— I^adma Sale ... 536 

LXXVIII— Panchal 544 

LXXIX-J^angul 555 

• LXXX— Pardhi ... 558 

L>gCXI.-Penta 562 

LX:^XII— Perika •. ... 565 

LXXXIII— Pichakuntala 568 

LXXXIV— Rajput 573 

LXXXV— Sale 577 

LXXXVI-5anyasi 582 

UXXXVII— Satani 585 

LX^XVIII— Singi 590 

LXXXIX— Sonar 592 

XC — Tamdi and Gurgva ... ... ... ... 597 

kCI— Telaga 603 

XCII— Teli or Gandla 611 

XCIII — Uppara or Gavandi 619 

XCIV— Vaidu 624 

XCV— Vanjari 627 

XCVl— Velma 635 

XCVII— Viramushti 641 

XCVIII— Waddar 645 







THE TRIBES AND CASTES 

OF 

H. H. ,THE NIZAM'S DOMINIONS 

Ahir 

Origin — Ahir, Ahir (Sansk- Abhir) — a large pastoral caste 
regarding whose origin there has been much controversy. Manu re- 
presents them as descended from a Brahman and an Ambastha mother, 
whilev according to the Brahm Puran, they are the offspring of a 
I Kshatriy^ man and a Vaishya woman. The traditions current among the 
people profess to trace their descent from the God Krishna, whose 
gay amours with the gopis, or milkmaids of Brindaban, are set forth at 
great lepglh in the Bhdgwat and Hariwansha Purdnas. These tradi- 
tions, as well as their sub-divisions Nandabansi, Yadubansi and 
Goalbansi, evidently called after Nanda, Yadu and Copal, seem to 
identify them with the Gopas, who were mentioned in the Buddhist 
Pali }ata\ds and Hindu Purdnas, as a caste of cowherds, found in 
Mathura and its neighbourhood and settled down into an orderly 
community long before the Christian era. 

These claims of Ahirs to be the descendants of Gopas are not, 
however, borne out by evidence. The Va'su, Markande^a and 
Mats^a Purdnas mention the Abhiras with Valhikas and Vatadhanas 
in the north and Shabaras, Pulindas and Vaidharbas in the south. 
The Bhdgwat Puran (II. 4-18) associates them with Kiratas, Hunas, 
Andhras and Pulindas as the tribes purified by Krishna. In the 
Mahabharata (Musulparva VII) tlsfe Abhiras are "described as Dasyu, 

or free booters who assailed Arjuna in the Panchanada De^h (the 

e 

Punjab) and carried away the widowed wives of Krishna and 
Yadavas whom he was escorting from Dwarjca with immense riches. 



2 Ahir 

c 
The Allahabad pillar inscription of Samudragupta also refers to tifc 
Abhiras as a tr^e and places them on the frontiers of Samudragupta's 
kingdom. These facts evidently show that the Abhiras were origin- 
ally a distinct tribe, outside the pale of Hindu Society, who dwelt 
somewhere in the Punjab and combined the character of banditti 
with that of herdsmen. This view is favoured by Professor Lassen, 
who describes the Abhiras as a non-Aryan pastoral race living near the 
mouth of the Indus, and also by Ptolemy who noticed them as occu- 
pying Pataline, the country about Tatta on the InEus. The w^rd 
Abhira ' is first given as a synonym for gopa (cowherd) in the 

r 

Amarkosha (550 A.D.), from which it follows that the Abhiras, or 
Ahirs, became incorporated into the Gopa or Goala caste sometime 
before 500 A.D. 

History. — The Ahirs have not, for many centuries, been of 
any political importance. But the evidence of inscriptions shows 
that a dynasty of Ahir Kings once ruled over the Deccan and 
Gujarath. In a cave inscription at Nasik, reference is made to the 
reign of an Abhira prince named Ishwarasena, son of Shivadatta. 
Another inscription, found at Gunda and dated 181 A.D., in the 
reign of the Kshatrapa Rudrasinha, speaks of his General Rudra- 
bhuti, who is therein called Abhira. The Purdnas describe* them 
as having ruled as paramount sovereigns after the Andhrabhrityas 
and in the 8th century, when the Kathis arrived in Gujarath, they 
found the greater part of the country possessed by the Ahirs. The 
old fort Ashirgada. in the Khandesh, testifies to their former im- 
portance and still retains the name of its founder Asa Ahir, or the 
Ahir prince Asa, who is said to have had 5,000 buffaloes, 5,000 
cows and 20,000 sheep. 

Immense numbers of the Ahir still cling to the nomadic life of 
their ancestors. Seeking the high grazing ground of Centnai 
India and the Deccan, they form encampments on the pasture lands, 
where they reside with their wives, families and herds, till the grass 
in the neighbourhood is exhausted, subsisting entirely on the prt- 
ceeds from their cows and buffaloes — milk, butter and 'ghee. 
The houses they use are constructed of large bamboo matst which 
can be taken to pieces and removed like tents. 



Ahir 3 

Interiiar Structure — The Ahirs have 6 endogamous* divisions— 
Nandabansi, Yadubansi, Goalbansi, Lingabansi, Ghosi and 
Guiar, of whom the Nandabansi are found in very large Slumbers 
in these Dominions. The Nandabansi trace their pedigree to the 
cowherd chief Nanda and his wife Yashoda, the foster parents of 
. Krishna. These are subdivided into a large number of exogamous 
sections, the names of which appear for the most part to have re- 
ference to locality rather than to descent. A few of these sections 
seem to be^ of the totemistic type. The following are given as 
• specimens : — 

Chiyanwale Routre 

Mandalye Jangle 

Kotwal Chediwale 

Khandare Barodiye 

Kheryawale Kodiwale 

Bhurewale Pariwale 

, Bhanoriye (bow) Hinwar (deer) 

Katariye (dagger) Moriye (peacock). 

The section names go by the male side. The rule of exogamy 
is strictly observed, i.e., a man cannot marry outside the subcaste nor 
inside the section to which he belongs. 

The Ahirs exclude the section of both father and mother or, in 
other words, forbid a man to marry a woman who belongs to the same 
section as himself or his mother. Ordinarily, the prohibition extends 
only to three generations in the descending line and in counting 
generations, the person under consideration is of course included. 
Thus, a man may not marry a woman descended from his own pater- 
nal or maternal grandfather, or from his own paternal or maternal aunt. 
He may marry two sisters at the same time, provided that the elder is 
married first. Polygamy is permitted and there is nothing to prevent 
a man from marrying as many wives as he can maintain. It is unusual, 
however, for a man to take a second wife unless the first is barren or 
incurably diseased. 

Marriage Ahirs practise both infant and adult jnarriage, 

according to their means, infant marriage being deemed the more 
respectable and adult marriages being resorted to only if tlie parents 



r ' 

4 Ahir 

of the girl cannot afford to get her married earlier ft life. Sexual • 
licence before marriage, though not expressly recognised, is never- 
theless tderated, it being understood that, if a girl becomes pregnant, 
she will disclose the name of her lover and he will come forward to 
marry her. Intercourse with a member of the same sect is punished 
with a fine, and that with an outsider by expulsion from the 

community. 

The negotiations leading to marriage are opened by the father of 

the bridegroom. After the bride has been selected, the lyidegroom's 
people pay a visit to her house to ascertain whether her parents agree 
to the proposal. If the point is settled to the entire satisi^actiqp of 
both parties, the match is ratified by the bride's father provjfling 
liquor for the bridegroom's party and for the caste people present on 
the occasion, and distributing parched paddy and gram among them. 
This ceremony is known as Galikvchi. Then comes Sagai, which 
consists in the bridegroom's father going to the bride's house with a 
present of jewels, clothes, areca nuts and betel leaves for the girl, • 
and receiving from the bride's father a ring of gold or silver as, a 
present for his son. These clothes and jewels are worn by the , '"' 
bridal pair on the wedding day. Sagai having been performed, a ' 
Brahman is called in to fix an auspicious day for the marriage. On 
the day previous to the wedding, the ceremony called Telchadhan^ 
is performed by the relatives of both the bride and the bridegroom. 
The betrothed pair, in their respective houses, are each anointed sepa- 
rately with turmeric and oil, the bridegroom a little while after the 
bride, and then bathed by married females whose husbands are living. 
The women touch the feet, knee and shoulders of the bride and 
bridegroom with their fingers, at the same time holding turmeric 
coloured rice in their hands. Offerings are made to the tutelary 
deities and the spirits of ancestors, who are invited to be present and 
witness the ceremony. 

On the night of the wedding day a procession (karat) of friends, 
relatives and neighbours is formed, escorting the bridegroom, magni- 
ficently dressed and dagger^ in hand, to ^e bride's house, with as i 
much show, music, and noise as the means of the family permit. 
On arrival, the bride's mother comes out to meet him, waves an 



Ahir 5 

• 

auspicious light round his face from a winnowing fan and makes a 
spot of |ahdal wood paste and red aniline powder (ktmkum) on his 
forehead. The bridegroom is then taken to the wedding canopy 
(mandap), made of mango and other leaves with a post called 
medha planted in the centre. An earthen pot, crowned with a 
burning lamp, and containing rice, areca nuts, betel leaves and tur- 
meric, is placed at the foot of this post with some mango twigs. The 
bridegroom touches the booth with the point of his dagger and enters 
it. . Here the bride, dressed in yellow clothes, joins him and both, 
seated side by side on low wooden stools, the bride on the left 
hand* of the bridegroom, make offerings to Ganesh, represented 
by aft areca nut, and to Gouri, in the form of a cowdung ball be- 
daubed with vermilion. The clothes of the bridal pair are knotted 
together and they walk seven times round the sacred post (medha), 
the Brahman reciting mantras or wedding hymns, women singing 
songs, music playing and the assembly showering rice on the couple 
ail the while. The seventh circumambulation, taken only on the 
corftent of the bride's parents, is deemed to be the essential and binding 
portion of the ritual, and to unite the pair irrevocably as husband and 
wife. After this, the knot of their garments is untied, the Brahman 
and the hajam (barber) receive their fees and all the men retire leaving 
thi bride and bridegroom to the care of the women, who then 
perform their own peculiar ceremonies, playing at the same time 
various tricks on the bridegroom. The rest of the night is spent in 
feasting and merrymaking, the wedded couple leaving for the bride- 
groom's house early next morning. All through the ceremony the 
bridal pair wear high crowns, or helmets, made of leaves of shendt 
(wild date palm). 

Widows are allowed to marry again. It is considered right for 
the widow to marry her late husband's younger brother or younger 
cousin. There is, however, no positive rule against her marrying 
an outsider and she incurs no social penalty by doing so; but in this 
respect she forfeits all claims to the share in her late husband's pro- 
perty or to the custody of Sny children sRe may have had by. him. 
Under no circumstances can she marry her husband's elder brother. 
The ceremony in use at the marriage of a widow is called Dharona 



6 Ahir 

and is a very simple one. On a dark night the bridal pair bathe and 
put on new clothe^ and a widow ties their garments in a Jcnot. A 
feast, in which liquor plays a prominent part, is given to caste people, 
after which the bridal pair retire to a room. Neither Brahmans nor 
married women attend the ceremony. For three subsequent days the^ 
bride remains in concealment, as to see her face during this period is 
considered unlucky by married women. .On the third day she puts 
on bangles and is free from the ban. If the man who marries a 
widow be a bachelor, he is first married to a rui or madar plant, 
[Cahtropis gigantea) and five stones are placed near the plant to bear 
witness to this marriage. 

Divorce is permitted, with the sanction of the Panchayai, if the 
wife be proved unchaste or if the husband suffers from an incurable 
disease such as leprosy or impotence. A woman who has been 
guilty of a liaison with a man of a lower caste, is turned out of the 
community. Divorced women may marry again by the same rite aj 
widows. 

Inheritance — In matters of inheritance, the Ahirs follow 
the Hindu law, with this exception, that the father is the absolute 
owner of the ancestral property and the son cannot claim any portion 
thereof during his lifetime. 

Religion — The religion of the Ahirs is of the orthodox 
type in vogue among the Hindu castes of the same social standing, and 
presents no features of special interest. Their favourite deities are 
Kisanji, Balaji, and the Goddess Bhavani, the last of which is 
worshipped with offerings of goats on the Dassera, or the 10th of the 
light half of Aswin (October). They celebrate Janmashtami, or 
the festival of the birthday of Krishna, with great circumstance. A 
fast is observed throughout the day and at night a picture of Krishna 
i»s painted on the wall and an offering of flowers and sweetmeats is 
made before it. The fast is broken early next morning. For reli- 
gious and ceremonial purposes they employ Goud Brahmans; but when 
these are not available, any local Brahmag, either Maratha or Telugu, 
is called in for the purpose. Besides the above mentioned gods, they 
pay reverence to Khandoba, Biroba, Hanuman, the Goddess of Tulja- 
pur and other minor local deities, whom they propitiate with a 



/ 



\ 



Ahir 7 

variety of offerinjs. They also make pilgrimages to Tuljapur, 
Pandharpur, Jejuri and other sacred places. When an epidemic 
breaks out among the cattle, the usual practice fof the Ahirs .is to 
kindle a fire and to throw on it the blood of goats and sheep sacri- 
ficed on the occasion. A swine is then buried alive with its head 
remaining above the ground and the cattle are made to run over it 
till it is trampled down to death. 

Disposal of the Dead — Ahirs burn their dead, laying 
the corpse on ,the pyre with the head pointing to the west. The 
body is washed clean, wrapped in new clothes and carried to the 
cremati<yi grownd on the shoulders of four men. Bodies of unmarried 
persons ^f either sex are buried. The chief mourner alone remains 
unclean for 10 days. Sradha is performed on the 10th day after 
death, when caste people are feasted and presents of money and rice 
are made to Brahmans. The spirits of departed ancestors are pro- 
pitiated on any day in the latter half of the month of Bhadrapad 
(Stptember). 

^ocial Status. — In the point of social precedence, Ahirs 
rank above Maratha Kunbis and all other castes of the same social 
standing. A Maratha Kunbl will eat kachi cooked by an Ahir, 
but the latter will take cooked food only from Brahmans. Most of 
therj eat fowls and mutton and indulge in spirituous and fermented 
liquors. 

The hereditary occupation of Ahirs is to lend milch cattle and 
deal in milk, butter and ghee. Some of them enter Government 
service, mostly as police constables. Of late years a few have taken 
to agriculture. 



•} 



/ 



II 

Andh 

Andh — a cultivating and hunting tribe confined to the hilly tracli, 
which include the Northern parts of Parbhani and Nander and the 
western part of Adilabad. They appear to be a very remarksble 
people, with dark complexion, thick lips and prominent check bones. 
They show, on the whole, a marked aboriginal type of features, re- 
sembling that of the Gonds, while the fact of their entire occupation of 
many villages indicates traces of savage independence. On the 
other hand, their language, customs and religion are those of the 
Maratha Kunbis. They show respect to Brahmans and have their 
totemistic sections modelled on those of the Maratha Kunbis. The 
question arises — what must have been the original affinities of the 
tribe ? 

Origin — Possibly, the Andhs are a branch of the Gonds. They 
seem to have remained in these hills when the inroads of the 

Marathas overwhelmed the country and drove the Gonds to the 

r 

Satpura ranges and the Adilabad highlands. In course of time, the 
Andhs probably forgot their original connections with the parent 
tribe and assumed the manners, customs, and language of the Kunbis, 
in whom they have now become entirely merged. 

Beyond a faint recollection that their forefathers came from 
Mahur and the adjoining districts, the Andhs have no traditions which 
will throw light upon their origin. It seems highly possible that the 
word Andh is only a corruption of the Sanskrit 'Andhra', a designa- 
tion given by the ancient Aryans to an aboriginal tribe dwelling in 
the Andhra Desh (Wilson, V p. 190). In the Rama})ana (IV. 40- 
44) and in the Mahabharata, the Andhras have been represented as 
Dasyus (non-Aryans) inhabiting the regions very nearly occupied by^ 
the modern Gonds. It may be believed, therefore, that the 
Andhras and Gonds are cognate tribes or, in other words, that the 



Andh 9 

Gonds were kn6\>^ by the name of Andhras in ancient times. This 
view is supported by Manu (X. 34-36) who identifies Andhras with 
Medas, the term ' Medas ' being, in the opinion of the Isamed 
Maratha Brahmans, equivalent to Gonds. (Dr. J. Wilson's " Indian 
Castes , p. 59.) The question of the origin of the Andhs may, 
therefore, appear to have two solutions — (i) that the Andhs were 
separated from the parent tribe before the name ' Gond ' for the 
Andhras came into common use ; (ii) that the isolated branch was 
renamed Andhra by the Maratha Brahmans, in consonance with the 
t»ditional list of the Indian castes and that the term ' Andhra ' 
passed in cogimon parlance into Andh by the dropping of the "r." 
The latter solution appears to be more plausible, for instances of, the 
fragments of aboriginal tribes being renamed by Aryans are not 
wanting in the ethnic history of the caste. (Risley's " The People 
of India", pp. 86-87.) 

Internal Structure—The Andhs are divided into two 
sulj-castes, (I) Andhs and (2) Shadu Andhs, or the illegitimate pro- 
geny of Andhs. The two eat with each other, but do not intermarry. 
Their exogamous sections are based upon the model of those of the 
Maratha Kunbis. Most of them are of the territorial character. A 
few are totemistic, bearing the names of trees and animals. The 
totems, however, are not taboo to the members bearing the section 
names. As a rule, marriage within the same section is strictly pro- 
hibited. A man may marry two sisters, so also may two brothers 
marry two sisters, the elder brother marrying the elder sister and the 
younger brother the younger. Marriage with the daughter of 
a maternal uncle or paternal aunt is permitted by the caste : it is, 
however, disallowed with a maternal aunt's daughter. Exchange of 
daughters takes place. Outsiders are not admitted into the 
community. 

Marriage The Andhs marry their daughters either as 

infants, or after they have attained puberty. If a girl becomes preg- 
nant before marriage, the father of the child is called upon by the 
'caste Panchayat to get her nyurried immediately. A girl bereft of 
parents or relatives is married to a man of her own chc^ce. The 
Andlis celebrate their wedding in the Maratha fashion, The cere- 



10 Andh 

mony takes place in the bride's house, after mid^iight, in a marriage 
pandal of twelve pillars. After the bridegroom has been brought m 
procession to the bride's house, the couple are made to stand face 
to face and, a curtain being held between them, the Brahman recites 
mantras and throws rice over their heads. They are then seated 
side by side, kankanams, or' bracelets of woollen thread, are tied 
on their wrists by a washerman and \vater from the blessed vessel 
(ravireni) is poured over their heads from the top of the wedding 
shed. A four-anna piece is afterwards dropped into the vessel and 
is claimed by the village patel, who is usually an Andh. Polygamy 
is permitted in theory to any extent but is restricted in actual* life to as 
many wives as a man can afford to maintain. Widows aft allowed 
to marry again, but not to the younger or elder brothers of their late 
husbands. The ritual of a widow's marriage is very simple. At 
night the widow is presented with a new sari and choli (bodice) and 
bangles, and the clothes of the pair are knotted together. Divorce 
is effected, with the sanction of the caste Panchayat, on the ground 
of the wife's adultery, or the husband's inability to maintsin her. 
Divorced women may marry again by the same ritual as widows. 

In matters of inheritance and succession, the Andhs conform to 
the usages of the local Hindus. 

Religion — No vestiges of their primitive faith arc now 
discerned in the religion of the Andhs. They worship the Hindu 
gods and employ Brahmans for religious and ceremonial purposes. 
Their household gods are Khandoba of Jejuri and Bhavani of Mahur. 
Ancestors, embossed on metal plates, are also honoured. On Amhil 
Dwadashi, or the 12th of the lunar half of Chaitra (end of March), 
Mahadeo is worshipped with offerings of amhil, or gruel prepared 
from jawari (Indian millet). Besides these principal gods, Andhs 
appease Mari Ai (the deity who presides over cholera), Sitala, or the 
deity of smallpox, and other minor deities and a host of ghosts and 
spirits, with animal offerings. 

Disposal of the Dead—Bodies of married persons aee 
burnt, and the unmarried are buried in a lying posture, with 
the head towards the south. In cases where cremation is resorted to, 
the ashes are gathered on the third day after death and thrown into a 



^ 



Andh 



II 



rive?. The Andhs observe mourning ten days for adults and three 
days for children, during which they abstain from any, food except 
dal (pulse) and bread. Sradha is performed on the i3th day after 
death, on the lunar third of Vaishakha (April) and in the dark half 
of Bhadrapad (September). The deceased first wife is appeased by 
the second in the form of Manoi, a vessel of water. 

Social Status — Socially, the Andhs rank below the 
Maratha Kunbis, and above the Dhobi (washerman), Navi (barber) 
and 5II the unclelin classes. They will eat food prepared by a 
Kunbi, though the Kunbi will not take food or water from an Andh. 
They eat pSrk, fowl, mutton, fish of all kinds, venison, lizards, hare, 
peafowl an(? crabs and drink spirituous and fermented liquors. They 
do not eat the leavings of other people. 

Occupation — The majority of the Andhs are engaged in 
agriculture and are good and industrious cultivators. Some of them 
are patels of villages. Many of them are landless day labourers, 
bringing firewood from the jungles, and collecting wild bees' nests. 
'They are'considered bom hunters and, as such, are employed by sports- 
men in the hunting of large and small game. They make good 
watchmen. 

The following statement shows the number and distribution of 

the An^s in 1911 : — 

Males Females 

Adilabad 1,347 1,258 

Aurangabad 7 J 

Bhir 10 



/ 



Are Katika 

Are Katika, Katika, Lad Kasab, Kasai, Suryachelad, Arewaru, 
— a small Marathi-speaking caste of butchers fouud in almost all the 

districts of Telingana. Katika,' in Telugu, means cruel and 

refers probably to the profession of the caste as bfttcheu, while the 
prefix Are ' (Sansk. ' Arya ) is the generic name by which all the 
Maratha castes are known to the Telugu people. Some derive the name 
Katika from the Sanskrit word \aria\, a knife. Arekatikas are 
also called Lad Kasebs or Lad Butchers, the term ' Lad ' being a 
variant of ' Lat ', the ancient name of a portion of Modern Gujarath, 
from which these people are supposed to have come original lyV The 
members of the caste dignify themselves with the title o Suryachtf 
Lad' (Lads descended from the sun), claiming Surya, or the sun, as 
their progenitor. 

Origin—Regarding the origin of the caste a variety of 
legends are current. According to one, they trace their descent from 
Dharma Vyadha,' who, in some Pouranic time, supplied meat and 
mutton to the people. Another legend makes them the offspring of 
one Vithoba, who was ordered by the gods to kill a sheep which had 
sprung from a mole-hill and caused annoyance to the Sun god. 
Vithoba carried out the orders immediately and was rewarded for 
the act with a knife, a wooden block, and a tripod. Vithoba cut 
the throat of the sheep and found in it a shaligmm (fossil 
ammonite), which he used for a weight. 

Internal Structure.-The caste has two endogamous 
divisions— (1) Sajjanam Katika, or Suryache Lad, (2) Barki, or 
Adjath Katika, who are illegitimate descendants of the Sajjaeam 
Katikas. The members of these swb-castes neither take food together 
nor intermarry. Besides these, there is one more divisio;j called 
Kurma Katika, who are doubtless men of the Kurma caste, following 



Are Katika 13 

the batcher's calling. the Katikas say they have only one gotra, 
'Ramashata Rana,' which is obviously inoperative in th<; regulation 
of their marriages. Their section names show a curious mixture of 
wo types ; the one borrowed from the Maratha Kunbis before their 
immigration into Telingana, and the other adopted from the Telugu 
castes after their immigration. 

Exogamous sections : — 

Namtawaru Ghodker 

3 Mirayalwaru Bhatnase 

Nayamatbadi Magdiker 

Vankhare Jamalpuri 

Gouliker Gomiker 

Dapalker Koyalker. 

The are tree (Baahinia racemosa) is regarded with great 
reverence and a branch of it is worshipped as deoak (marriage guard- 
ian) in Jharriages. A man is prohibited from marrying into the 
se2tion, or outside the sub-caste, to which he belongs. He may 
marry the daughter of his maternal uncle, paternal aunt, or elder 
sister. He may also marry two sisters, but two brothers cannot marry 
two sisters. Outsiders are not admitted into the caste. 

Marr'^lge. — Infant marriage is practised by the caste. A 
girl attaining puberty before marriage is excommunicated. Girls are 
not offered to temples or trees. Polygamy is permitted to the extent 
of two wives. The maniage ceremony resembles that of the Telugij 
castes in general. Some of the rites, however, deserve notice. Two 
branches, one of the saundad or shami tree {Prosopis spicigera) and 
the other of the are (Bauhinia racemosa), are tied, each with 
a sweet cake, to the western corners of the booth and on 
its top a winnowing fan is placed. Previous to the wedding, a 
picture of the goddess Bhavani of Tuljapur is painted on a wall, 
and a lamp, made of a piece of cocoanut kernel filled with oil, is 
placed, before it, the wick in the lamp being re-trimmed by a stalk 
of jaWari (Indian millet). This ceftmony is called Tel Chadhai. 
At the time of the wedding, the girl only is dressed in new clotBes, 
while the boy appears in his old clothes, except for a new head-dress. 



/ 

14 Are Katika 

After Nagvell}}, the bridegroom is made to' slay a sheep an4 the 
bride to gather green herbs in which she finds a nose-ring previously 
Ridden. 

Widows are allowed to re-marry and divorce is permitted. 
They follow the Hindu law of inheritance. In default of male 
issue, females inherit. 

Religion — The Are Katikas are all Vibhutidharis 
(Saivaits) and mark their foreheads with round spots of red aniline 
powder. Ellamma is worshipped on Sundays awcl Tuesdays, when 
they observe a fast. Pochamma, and other malignant deities, are 
appeased in the month of Ashadha (July- August)' witl^ offerings of 
sheep and fowls. A man of the Kummara caste i% engaged as 
priest at the worship of these goddesses, while the sacrificial animals 
are killed by a Muhammadan butcher and not by a member of the 
caste. Narsinha and Mahadeva are also held in great reverence. 
Brahmans are employed in marriages and Jangams at funerals. 

Disposal of the Dead — The dead are either » buried 
in a sitting posture, facing the east, or burnt in a lying pasture witk 
the feet to the north, according to the custom of the family of the 
deceased. In cases of cremation, the ashes are collected on the third 
day after death and thrown into a river. Ten days' mourning is 
observed for the married and three days for others. On th^ 3rd, 5th 
and 1 0th days after death, birds are fed for the benefit of the soul of 
the deceased and Brahmans and Jangams are given rice. 

Social Status and Occupation The occupation of 

the caste is that of selling the flesh of sheep and goats. They also 
manufacture liquor and sell it. Some have taken io agriculture. 

They eat the flesh of sheep, deer, hare, fish of two kinds and 
drmk liquor and shendi. They do not eat the leavings of any caste. 
They have a caste Panchayat with a chowdhari at its head. Social 

f 

disputes are referred to this council for decision. 

They eat from the hands of Brahmans, Komtis, Baljas, Kapus 
and Munnurs, while Balijas, Kurmas and Goundalas eat \achi from 
them. ° t 



\ 



IV 

Banjara 

Banjara, Brinjara, Lambadi, Lamane, Wanjara, Gohar Hetkeri 
(Carnatic) — grairj and salt carriers, cattle-breeders and cattle dealers, 
found all over the Dominions, but especially in the Districts of 
Warangalj and Adilabad, which abound in rich pastures. They have 
no settledghomes, but lead a wandering life in bands, each band being 
under a hereditary leader styled naik, to whom implicit obedience 
is yielded by the men. Their camp, comprising a large number of 
followers with their pack bullocks, is known as tdndd. The naik 
exercises complete authority over his men. settles caste disputes and 
direits the movements of the tdndd when travelling. 

Tije men are fine, muscular fellows, of medium height, with 
generally a Rajput caste of countenance. They are strong and 
energetic and capable of enduring long and fatiguing marches. 
Their ordinary dress is the dhoti, a covering reaching to the hips, and a 
pagri, or turban of several folds, wound round the head. The 
women are, as a rule, comely in appearance and as active as the 
men in their business avocations. They wear a lainga, or skirt, 
of coarse cotton prints, rich in embroidery work and hung 
from the waist in ample folds. A phad\i (odni), or scarf, of a 
similar texture, is carelessly thrown over (she shoulders and on the 
head, where it rests on a sort of a horn or wooden comb. A bodice, 
or choli, with long sleeves and tastefully embroidered in front and on 
the shoulders, covers the bosom and is tied at the back by bands, 
the ends of which are ornamented with cowries, beads, and gaudy- 
coloured tassels of cotton. About their necks they wear a silver 
9r brass hasali and a profusion of bead strings with a pendant of 
cowrie shells threaded on horse Jiair. On thei? wrists they wear brass 
and horn bracelets, 10 or ] 2 in number, extending, on eith« arm, to 
the elbow and sometimes to the arm-pit. Brass or horn anklets with 



16 Banjara 

jingling bells are worn on the feet. Their movements are easy, 
graceful and stately, rendered slow from the quantity of ornaments 
they wear. The hair is parted in the centre, combed back, plaited 
and profusely decked with silk and cotton tassels. Heavy pendants 
of silver plaited in the hair hang over their cheeks. The well-to-do 
women wear silver ear-rings and a gold or gilt nose-ring. The 
Banjara women seldom change their clothes till they are tattered and 
torn and are only renewed by new ones. 

The Banjara idndds are always on the move ; but during ths 
four rainy months they encamp on the outskirts of villages, generally 
on some dry spots where there is good grazing, their pals being 
made of coarse stout cloth fastened' with ropes. Their means of 
carriage is usually the bullock ; but it is no unusual thing to see even 
cows laden with burdens, with young calves at their heels. One of 
their best bullocks is selected as leader. His horns and the crest 
of his pack saddle are ornamented with cowrie shells, scarlet cloth, 
peacock feathers and tassels of silk, his neck is encircled with brass 
chains and a band of scarlet cloth or leather, to wTiich are fastened 
numerous bells which, as he walks, give out a monotonous sound. 
He is supposed to be deified, being devoted to Balaji, forms 
the protector of the herd, and is termed Guru Bail. At his feet 
the Banjaras make their vows when difficulties overtake them, and 
in illness, whether of themselves or of cattle, they trust to his worship 
for a cure. As soon as the march is over, the cattle are let loose to 
browse in the vicinity and at night they are tied round the 
packages of loads in a circle. In the midst, the Banjara lights the 
fire and goes to sleep. He is up at sunrise, loads his bullocks and 
proceeds to the next stage. 

Names and their Derivations — The name Banjara 
is supposed to be derived from the Persian Berinj Armi 
meaning 'dealer in rice' Some derive it from the Sanskrit Banij — a 
merchant. The Banjaras have other names, as Lamani, derived from 
the Sanskrit Laoana — salt; Wanjari, from Vana — a forest; and'" 
Lambadi, from Lamban — length, which has probably reference to the 
long line or train in which their bullocks move. Their tribal name 
is gohar — a man. 



Banjara 17'' 

^ Origin — TheoBanjaras claim to be descended from Mota 
and Mola, the two brothers who tended Sri Krishna's cows. From 
Mota sprang the ancestors of the modern Marwaris, Matliura 
Banjaras and Labhanas. Mola, having no issue, once visited a 
prince's court, with his wife Radha, and there exhibited gymnastic 
feats, in which he was an adept. The prince was so pleased with 
Mola s skill and so charmed with Radha's beauty and grace, that he 
gave them, as reward, three infant boys of different castes, whom 
they adopted as sons. In course of time the boys grew up and 
we?e married. Their progeny have been collectively known as Charan 

Banjaras. 

j 

This ^ account, ascribing to the Banjaras a mixed parentage, 
appears to have been founded on fact. There can be no doubt 
that thfse people, so varied in their characteristics, were recruited 
from different races of Northern India' and bound together by ties 
of common occupation. The Banjaras are alluded to by Arrian 
as qpe of the classes of Indian Society. In Dashakumdr Charitra, 
a work written by Dandi, mention is made of a cock fight in a 
Banjara camp. It is said that these grain carriers came into the 
Deccan with the Moghal armies early in the 1 7(!h century. Their 
carrying trade has been noticed by almost all European travellers of the 
past three centuries. Thus, Mandelso wrote of them in 1638 A.D. 
as buying wheat and rice in the markets of the Deccan towns and 
carrying them to Hindustan in caravans sometimes of ten thousand 
animals ("Mandelso in Haris", p. 130). In the accounts of Sir A. 
Wellesley's campaigns in the Deccan, they are frequently mentioned 
as supplying his forces with food and forage. " Many thousands 
of them," says the Abbe Dubois, "were employed by the English 
for transporting their provisions in the last war with the Sultan of 
Mysore " (" Abbe Dubois ", p. 451). " They seem to have derived 
their whole origin and organisation," remarks Mr. Lyall, "from the 
long wars of the Delhi Emperors in the south, and the restoration of 
peace and prosperity is breaking them up. Neither trade nor their 
tribal system can survive another generation of English predominance. " 

Internal Structure — The Banjaras are divided into 
four tribes— (1) Mathura, (2) Labhani. (3) Charan, (4) Dhadia. 






18 Banjara 

who do not intermarry nor eat together. The *Dhalias, or Banjul 
Mangs, constitute the fifth class and are attached as musicians to each 
Banjara tdndd, 'although even their touch is regarded as impure by 
other classes. Mathura Banjaras claim to be of the highest rank and 
purest blood, coming probably, as their name indicates, from 
Mathura in Upper India and tracing their origin from the 
mythical founder Mota, Sri Krishna's herdsman. Their tdndds are 
chiefly confined to the hilly tracts of the Kinwat, Bodan and Hadgaon 
Talukas, where they rear fine bullocks and cows. , During the dry 
season, they visit different markets and dispose of their commodities, 
returning, in the rains, to their head-quarters in the hills, f hey have 
six exoganjous groups : — (1) Chaupad, (2) Padwad, (3) Basi, (4) Goli, 
(5) Khichkad, (6) Kakar, which differ from those of the Charans 
and appear to have been introduced after their immigration into the 
Deccan. The original surname of the Chaupads was supposed to be 
Sabade. From Padwad sprang three different clans — (1) Bharwat, (2) 
Bathada, (3) Antarvedi, who do not intermarry. Each of the ather 
groups is subdivided into families — Basi into Basi and Barad, Goli • 
into Goli and Tatiria and Khichkad into Khichkad and Dhirbi. 
The Kakar group has become extinct. Mathuras are fairer in com- 
plexion than other Banjaras and, unlike the latter, are neat and cleanly 
in their habits, washmg their bodies daily. They wear the sacred 
thread and do not eat animal food nor food cooked by any caste 
except their own. At their meals they are very careful to keep a fire 
burning, eating no more if by chance the fire goes out. Their 
widows are not allowed to marry again, nor are they permitted to 
wear bracelets or bangles on their wrists. Until a Mathura 
girl attains the age of puberty, she is required to retain, as a symbol, 
cowrie shells and betel-nuts, tied in the skirt of her garment. 
Mathuras have their own bhdts, or genealogists, whom they employ 
in the settlement of marriages. Their important festival is Gokul- 
dshtami, or the celebration of Krishna's birthday, which they perform 
with great pomp and rejoicings on the 8th of the dark half of 
Shravan (August-Sept?mber). They^, speak a dialect which is a 
mixture gf Hindi and Gujarathi. The Charans form the majority 
of the Banjaras found in Hyderabad territory. The origin of their 



Banjara 19 

• 

name is obscure. • They have five exogamous sections — (1) Rathod, 
(2) Panwar, (3) Chavan, (4) Badtiya or Vadtiya and (5) Tori, all 
of the eponymous character, being the names of tlieir founders* Of 
these founders, the first three were the adopted sons of their legendary 
ancestor Mola ; the fourth, Badtiya, was believed to have been the 
offspring of the grand-daughter of Panwar by a Brahman ; Tori, 
the last, while an infant, was found by Mola exposed in a farm 
and brought up by him as his own son. The development of thesa 
five primary branches into several families is illustrated in the genea- 
ISgical table given below : — 



Rathor^ 


P 


anwar 


Chauvan 




Tori 


Seven sons 


Twel 


Ive sons 


Six sons 




Four sons 


(1) Bhukiya 


(1) 


Jharbala 


(1) Kota 




(1) Samalalani 


(2) Aloth 


(2) 


Amgoth. 


(2) Sagawath 




(2) Jogalalani 


(3) Jatoth 


(3) 


Lolasawath 


(3) Moda 




(3) Mohllalani 


(4) Dharmasoth 


(4) 


Vinjarawath 


(4) Palita 




(4) Zalalalani 


(5) Banoth 


(5) 


Tarbani 


(5) Keloth 




Their gotra is 


(6) Mukhale 


(6) 


Khotbani 


(6) Lawdiya 




Tori. 


Q) Mohan 


m 


Goramu 


with Chauhan 


as 




The descendants 


(8) 


Bani 


their gotra. 






of tSese have the 


(9) 


Ayoth 








goira Rathod. 


(10) 

(11) 
(12) 


Lodhi 

Moyagnani 

Chaboloth 










These have Pan- 








f 


wai 


■ as their gotra. 












Badtiya (Vadtiya) 










Zarbala (son of Pawar). 










Daughter— 


-a Brahman. 






Kahitaji 




Punitaji 




Niyatii 


Seven sons 




Four sons 




Three sons 


(1) Halataji 




(1) Dharawat 


(1) 


Barmawat 


(2) Kanwal 




(2) Pagugalat 


(2) 


Padiya 


(3) Jituwat 




(3) Lukhadat 


(3) 


Malawat 


(4) Bharawat 




(4) Lonawat 






0) Budawat 












(6) Ura 












(7) Tlhawat 




« 


- 






These have Bad- 










, • 



tiya as their gotra. 



20 Banjara 

Bhukiya (Bhutiya) son of Rathor. c r 

Khandati fviaig'na 

Seven sons Five sons 

(1) Dewashi (1) Laksee 

(2) Ramsee (2) Udha 

(3) Patalsee (3) Hadsee 

(4) Tanisee (4) Donga 

(5) Karamsee (5) Ana 

(6) Urasee {gotra Maigla). 

(7) Watasee 
(gotra Kooloth). 

r 

Barmawat, the son of Niyatji and the grandson of Badtiya, had no 
issue. He got a son by the favour of Khaja Mohln-u^din of 
Ajmere, and named him Ajmirya, after the residence of tke saint. 
Ajmirya had six sons— (1) Sailu, (2) Rama, (3) Babila, (4) Tota, 
(5) Manna and (6) Bhand, whose descendants have adopted Ajmirya 
as their gotra. 

Of the five original Charan Banjara clans, Rathods and 
Badtiyas or Vadtiyas are chiefly found in H. H. The Nizam's 
Dominions, the Rathods occupying the Marathawada Districts 
adjoining Berar and the Badtiyas abounding in Telingana. Both these 
clans are said to have come to the Deccan with the armies of Asaf 
Jah, the Vazir of Shah Jahan, who campaigned against Bijapur 
about the year 1630 A.D. The Rathod Banjaras, under their 
naiks Bhangi and Jhangi, had 180,000 bullocks, which formed the 
army commissariat of the Vazir and, in order to keep up the supply of 
grain and fodder, they secured from him the following prescriptive 
rights engraved in golden letters on a copper plate :-^ 
" Ranjan ka pani, chappar ka ghas ; 
" Din ka teen khun maff, 
" Aur jahan Asaf Jah ke ghore 
" Wahan Bhangi Jhangi ke bail." 
A very free rendering of this inscription would be : — (Bhangi 
and Jhangi may freely have) pots of water and grass for chappars 
(roofs) ; three murders a day will be pardoned, (because) where Asaf 
Jah's horses (cavalry) are, there (are) Bhangi's and Jhangi's bullocks. 
This plate remains in the possession of the descendants of Bhangi, 
who are still recognised by the Hyderabad court ; and on the death of 



( 
r 



Banjara * 21 






the representative of this family his successor receives a khiUat 
from His Highness the Nizam. * • 

Bhagwandas, the naik of the Badtiya Banjaras, was also said to 
have accompanied the army and asked for a similar right, which was 
refused. This led to a feud between the rival clans, which 
gathered strength after the campaign was over and the Charans 
remained in the Deccan. "One day when Bhangi Naik was 
returning from the Hyderabad Darbar with four followers, he was 
attacked in daylight by Bhagwandas who, with a number of 
followers, killed all five men. On the Charans complaining to the 
Nizam, they were told to take their revenge, which they shortly did : 
and headed by Narayan Bhangi, son of the deceased, they fell unex- 
pectedly on Bhagwandas in such large numbers that he and one hundred 
of his followers were killed. The Badtiyas availed (sic. ?) their turn 
and attacking the Rathods killed a number of them and took away their 
standard. This standard is a yearly present from H. H. the Nizam 
who gives Bhangi's descendants eight ' thans of khddi ' of sixteen 
yards a than for a new standard. This standard is now in the 
possession of the Badtiyas, though the Rathods have made many 
attempts to regain it and the feud will exist so long as the Badtiyas 
remain in possession of it." (Berar Gazetteer.) 

The Charans have a bad name for highway robbery and daksuti 
and are under the strict surveillance of the police. They do not, 
however, appear to be hereditary criminals and have taken to a 
course of rapine and pillage owing to the decline of their original 
trade. They are now settling down to respectable means of liveli- 
hood and it may be that, in a few years, their criminal propensities 
will be entirely repressed. 

The Dhadis profess themselves to be bards and genealogists 
of the Charans, from whom they are probably an offshoot. They are 
a hybrid tribe, half Muhammadan and half Hindu ; they observe 
circumcision like Muhammadans, but worship the Hindu deities, 
Specially the goddess Saraswati. They subsist by begging alms 
from the Charans and singing songs in praise of their Charan ancestors 
and the Emperors of Delhi. It is believed that they embraced the 
faith of Islam during the time of the Emperor Humayun. 



i 

r 



22 ' Banjara 



f, 



Marriage A man cannot marry outside the sub-caste nor 

inside the section to which he belongs. He is also forbidden to 
marry a woman belonging to his (1) mother's section, (2) paternal or 
maternal grand-mother's section and (3) paternal or maternal great 
grand-mother's section. A man may marry two sisters. Tm'o 
brothers are allowed to marry two sisters. Polygamy is permitted 
to any extent, but is rarely practised. 

Banjara girls are not usually married under twelvj years of age. 
Sexual licence before marriage is tolerated on the understanding th'at 
if a girl becomes pregnant her lover shall come forward to m9.rry her. 
The bride's price varies according to the means of the briflegroom, 
but is, in no case, less than Rs. 121/-. Half the amount is paid at 
the betrothal and the remaining half is paid when the bridegroom 
comes to the bride's house for the marriage. 

The proposal for marriage comes from the father of the boy 
and, on the match being settled, belel-leaves and molasses are distri- 
buted to the guests in token of confirmation. Bada Guda, pr the 
betrothal, follows. The bridegroom's father and relatives visit the 
bride's house. After the horoscopes of the parties have been 
examined and found to agree by an tstrologer, the bride's father, in 
the presence of the caste Panchayai, promises to give his dcjughter 
in marriage to the proposed boy. Molasses {gur) and betel-leaves 
are distributed to the whole iandd (encampment) and the assembly 
disperses. A considerable quantity of liquor is consumed on the 
occasion. The betrothal expenses are shared equally by both parties. 
The marriage ceremony is performed at the bride's house. It takes 
place at midnight in the months of Kartika, Falguna and Ashadha. 
One day previous to the wedding, the bridegroom starts out on foot to 
the bride's village, accompanied by a friend or two. The bridegroom 
has in his hands a sword and a dagger while his companion carries a 
tobacco pipe. On arrival they are welcomed by the bride's father 
and are given separate lodgings. A marriage booth, supported on 
four posts of palas {Sutea jrondosf) and covered over with a 
blanket, ss erected in front of the bride's house. Under the booth 
a square of ground is smeared with cow-dung and at each corner are 
piled nine earthen vessels one upon the other. In the centre two 






Banjara 23 



e 



w%oden pestles of khair (Acacia catedm) ate planted and decorated 

with bunches of mango leaves. By the side of th» eastern pos.t a 

small stool is placed. The following plan illustrates the arrancrement— 

Pile Pile 

O East post West post O 

' Stool 

Pile Pile 

Fridays and Sundays are regarded as auspicious days for marriages. 
Prejrious to the Vedding, fJie bride is seated on the stool, rubbed 
over by her sisters with turmeric and oil, and bathed. Then 
comes the*-* bridegroom's turn and while he is being bathed on th 
stool, a mischievous girl flings round his neck the bride's lainga (petti- 
coat) and with it pulls him backwards unawares so as to make him fall 
flat on his back. Great fun is made at the expense of the poor boy. 
Dressed in wedding clothes, the bridal pair are next seated side 
by side on a bullock saddle near the posts. After the worship of 
Ganpati and other deities, the Brahman priest joins their right hands 
and ties* their garments in a knot, in which is enclosed one rupee 
given by the bride's father. A sacrificial fire is kindled between the 
pestles and fed with seven kinds of wood, viz., mango (Mangijera 
indica), tendu {Diosp\)ros 'melanoxylon), sag (Tectona grandis), 
palas (Sutea jrondosa), nim (Melia indica), tamarind {Tamarindus 
indica) and hadh (Ficus hengalensis). When the fire is well ablaze, 
the bridal pair march seven times round the pestles and the fire, 
keeping these always tO' their right side, the women singing songs 
and the priest repeating mantras the whole time. These seven 
jeras (rounds) are regarded as the binding portion of the 
ceremony. After the pair have resumed their seats, bhe priest makes 
offerings of [sahi) grain to the fire. On this occasion, he is surrounded 
by mischievous lasses of the tdndd who pinch and prick him on all 
sides, smear his body with cow-dung, try to strip him naked and 
tease him in every way possible. On the third day the whole tdndd 
is»entertained at a feast, liquor in plenty being consumed at the time. 
A Brahman is engaged to perfoftn the ceremony ; but if one is not 
available, a member of the tdndd, supposed to trace his origTn from 
a Brahman, wears the sacred thread and acts as priest. The bride's 



I 

f 



24 Banjara 



father has to make her a present of a young bullock with pack 
saddle, a complete set of ornaments and a sufficient number of laingas 
to last her for life. On the early morning of the fourth day, the 
wedded pair, mounted on the bullock, set out for the bridegroom s 
encampment. The bride departs singing blessings on her parents. 
At some distance, the party stop for the day and a grand feast is 
given in their honour to the whole tdndd. The parting scene follows. 
The bride, with her eyes filled with tears at the grief of separation, 
embraces all her relatives and friends, who each jjfesent her jyith 
a rupee and at last the pair are sent off with a heavy heart. The 
Brahman receives Rs. 1-4-0 as the marriage fee (dakshani). 

Widow=Marriage — Widow marriage is alloweJ by the 
Charan Banjaras, the widow being required to marry her late 
husband's younger brother or, in default, some other member of 
his family. If she persists in marrying an outsider he is made to 
pay to her former mother-in-law Rs. 60, or half the price paid for 
her as a virgin. The ceremony of a widow-marriage consists or the 
pair being made to sit face to face on a bullock saddle and to feed each 
other with molasses and cooked rice. Divorce is recognised and 
is effected by breaking a piece of straw before the caste Panchdyai 
in token of separation. Unchastity is not tolerated and a woman 
whose virtue is in question, has to undergo a solemn ordeal '.n order 
to establish her innocence. A woman detected in a liaison with 
a member of an inferior caste is turned out of the community. 
Female infanticide is said to be still in vogue among them, in con- 
sequence of the large sums of money required to ornament and clothe 
the girl on her marriage. 

Inheritance. — The devolution of property is governed by 
a tribal usage. The youngest son is allowed the first choice in the 
shares and the eldest son is given a cow in addition to his own 
share. The Banjaras are never known to go to law, but settle their 
disputes in their caste Panchdyat, presided over by the naik- The 
decision of the Panchd^at is never disputed. i 

Religion. — The religion of the Banjaras is of the orthodox 
type. Their special deity is Kalika Devi, or Bhavani, whose image is 
embossed on silver and worshipped in every Banjara household. 



Banjara 25 

Once a year her 'vvorship is celebrated with great pomp and cere- 
mony by the whole tdndd. On a Tuesday in the month of Kartika 
(November-December), six sheep are taken before her, wSshed 
and decapitated. Seven bones from the left leg of each sheep with 
twenty-one small heaps of cooked rice and molasses are offered to the 
gotldess and subsequently eaten by the votaries at three meals. On 
the Dassera holiday the goddess is propitiated with offerings of black 
ram and liquor. The other deities honoured by the tribe are 
Hanuman and £alaji, to whom offerings of flowers, cows' milk and 
sweetmeats are made in the Divali holidays. The memory of 
their grf^t heroes. Shiva Bhaiya and Malha Bhakayya, is perpe- 
tuated in 'their annual worship, when offerings of sheep and goats are 
made to them and afterwards partaken of by the devotees. Matha 
Bhakayya was a notorious free-booter, whose daring commanded the 
respect of his community. He is said to be still worshipped before 
the commission of crime. Shiva Bhaiya was a great saint and has 
a fcmple dedicated lo him in Berar. Guru Nanak, the founder of 
the Sikh sect, is held in the greatest reverence and many Banjaras pay 
a visit, in his honour, to the great Sikh temple at Nander. In 
addition to these, the Banjaras appease minor deities, such as Mari 
Ai, Sitala Devi, Khanderao, and several others, with a variety of 
offerings. Homage is also done to Muhammadan saints and pirs 
by the members of the tribe. They observe all the Hindu festivals, 
the most favourite with them being Holi in Falgun (March). Men 
and women throw aside all feelings of modesty and give free vent 
to their vicious propensities. Great licentiousness is said to prevail 
on the occasion. A few of the Banjaras, who have settled down in 
the Telugu parts of the State, have been brought under the sectarian 
influences of Shri Vaishanava and Aradhi Brahmans. They are in 
other words divided into Tirmanidharis and Vibhutidharis like the 
other Telugu castes. 

The Banjaras have a strong belief in witch-craft. Women are 
generally supposed to be expert in the black art and are often 
accused of having caused sicjjness to a person, or brought calamity 
on a family. Witch-finders are employed in divining thf witches, 
and a woman, denounced as a sorceress, is secretly done to death. 



26 Banjara 

r 

Many a Banjara woman has been tortured to death under this horrii 
suspicion. Brahmans are employed for religious and ceremonial 
purp6ses. The oath most sacred to the community is that of Shiva 
Bhaiya, taken while holding the tail of a cow. 

Disposal of the Dead — The dead are usually burnt, 
but are occasionally buried in a lying posture with the face downwards 
and the head pointing towards the south. Unmarried persons, persons 
dying of cholera or smallpox, and children, are buried. On the third 
day after death the ashes are collected in a heap with fwigs of the ^f 
plant (Calotropis gigantea) and sprinkled over with sheep's milk. The 
mourners thereupon resort to a well where they are f'id with 
^rnalidd or a mixture of gur (molasses) and rice. On the 10th 
day, a feast is given to the caste people. No Srcdha is performed. 
Widows do not wear bangles after the decease of their husbands. 

Social Status — The social position of the Charan Ban- 
jaras may be determined by the fact that they eat from the hands of 
all Hindu castes except the Dhobi, Hajam, Panchadayi, Jingar, and 
the lowest unclean classes, while only the Mala, Madiga and' other 
impure castes eat from their hands. They eat mutton, pigs, fish, 
fowl, lizards and the leavings of high castes, and drink spirits. The 
Mathura Banjaras rank higher than the Charans and eat only from the 
hands of Brahmans. These abstain from flesh and wine. 

Occupation. — The Banjaras are, by profession, wandering 
grain and salt merchants and, in this capacity, have rendered invalu- 
able services to the country. They visit the most secluded regions 
and lone hamlets, collecting the small quantities of grain, cotton, wool 
and other commodities obtainable, and bring them to the larger 
markets. Their value, as carriers and collecting merchants, in times 
of scarcity and great demand, is incalculable, for no other means 
could bring in the small stores of the outlying hamlets. With the 
rapid extension of rail and metalled roads, these industrious traders are 
fast disappearing from traffic. In most of the Telugu Districts of 
His Highness' Dominions many of them are to be found, settled t 
down as village Banjara^ and have taien to cultivation and cattle 
breeding. 'They rear fine animals and take them to different 
markets for sale or turn them into pack animals. The poorer mem- 



Banjara 27 

bers of the tribe subsist by bringing wood from the jungles or being 
employed as day-labourers. Banjara women are g(jod at needle- 
work, make their own laingas and bodices, embroider them in taste- 
ful designs and dye them in various colours to suit their peculiar 
castes. The poorest women sell grass and fuel or work as labourers ; 
but the majority work at home and look after the dairy. While 
travelling, they carry their own burdens, chiefly their children, pro- 
visions, utensils and other chattels with them. 

•The following statement shows the number and distribution of 
Banjaras m 1911 : — 



Hyderabad City 

Atrafi Balda 

Warangal 

Karimnagar 

Adilabad . . . 

Iviedak 

Nizamabad . . . 

Mahbubnagar 

Nalgunda 

Aurangabad 

Bhir 

Nander 

Parbhani 

Gulbarga 

Usmanabad 

Raichur 



Bid 



ar 



Males. 


Females. 


26 


2 


2,255 


1,812 


28,924 


24,634 


3,227 


2,868 


2,806 


2,573 


2,154 


1,821 


971 


.348 


7,213 


5,650 


20,728 


17,337 


2,284 


2,197 


159 


204 


1,166 


1,124 


1,094 


1,039 


2,859 


2,401 


84 


81 


132 


130 


621 


620 



V 

Barai 

Origin — Barai, Tamboli — a caste of betel vine growers and betel 
leaf sellers, found in the Sirpur and Rajura Talukas of the Adiltbad 
District. The two terms, although used indifferently as the names 
of the caste, disclose some shades of variation in the meanl'ng, Barai, 
signifying one who grows the betel vine, and Tamboli, the seller of 
the prepared leaf. The following passage, quoted from the Central 
Provinces Ethnographic Report, may throw some light upon the origin 
of the caste. " No very probable derivation has been obtained for the 
word Barai, unless it comes from bdri, ' a hedge or enclosure,' and 
simply means ' gardener.' Another derivation suggested is from 
barana, ' to avert hail storms,' a calling which they still practise in 
Northern India. Owing to the fact that they produce what is perhaps 
the most esteemed luxury in the diet of the higher classes of Indian 
society, the Barais occupy a fairly good social position and the 
legend gives them a Brahman ancestry. This is to the effect that 
the first Barai was a Brahman, whom God detected in a flagrant case 
of lying to his brother. His sacred thread was confiscated and, being 
planted in the ground, grew up into the first betel vine, which he was 
set to tend. " 

Internal Structure — In the Central Provinces the caste 
is very numerous and is broken into several sub-castes, mostly of 
the territorial type. The number of Barais in these Dominions being 
limited, they have no endogamous divisions ; but their exogamous 
sections are numerous and of different types, as illustrated below : — 
Territorial type 

Burhanpuria (Burhanpur) i 

Rajurkar'" (Rajura) *^ 

Wadaskar (Wadas) 

Chitore (Chitor in Rajputana) 



* Barai 29 

^ '' Titulary type 

Bhandare (store keeper) 

Ghodmale (groom) ' 

Aglave (firebrand) 
Darve (a Gond sub-caste) 
Totemistic type 
Narale (cocoanut) 
Kutre (dog) 
Say^ale (porcupine) 
Khokari (fox) 
Makuri (ape) 
From t!:ie mixed character of their exogamous sections it may 
appear that the caste is mainly a functional group, made up of a 
number of immigrants from Northern India and of recruits from 
different classes of the population, including a large proportion of 
the non- Aryan element. 

A man cannot marry a woman belonging to his own section. 

^s the section names go by the male side, the rule prohibiting 

marriage within the section is supplemented to the extent that a man 

cannot marry any of his first cousins. A man may marry two sisters; 

but the rule in this case is that he must marry the elder first. 

Marriage — Girls are married before they attain the age 
of puberty, usually between five and ten years. Polygamy is per- 
mitted. In theory, a man may marry as many wives as he can afford 
to maintain ; in practice, however, he rarely takes more than two. 

The marriage ceremony is of the type in use among other local 
castes, especially among Khaira Kunbis. The following are the 
important stages comprising it : — 

1 . The worship of Mari Ai, or the goddess of cholera, with 

offerings of goats. This is done by both parties, each 
in their own house. 

2. The worship of Devak, which consists of the mango and 

saundad {Prosopis spicigera) leaves, and of two big and 
twelve small earthen ^ots brought ceremonially from the 
potter's house. > 

3. The bridal procession : — The bridegroom goes in proces- 



30 Barai * 

r 

sion, accompanied by his friends,' relatives and neigh- 
bours, to the bride's village where; on arrival, he is 
formally received by the parents of the bride and lodged 
in a house known as jdnvdsa. ^ 

4. Antarpdt : — At a lucky moment, fixed for the wedding, 

the bridal pair stand facing each other in front cf the 
bohold (earthen platform) under the wedding booth. A 
curtain is held between them and the officiating priest, 
who is a Brahman, recites mantras, wjiile the assembled 
people throw rice, coloured with turmeric, on' the 
couple. The antarpdt is removed and the Brahman 
fastens their garments in a knot and ties konkonum or 
thread bracelets on their wrists, at the same time putting 
a string of black beads (mangal sutra) round the bride's 
neck. This is deemed to be the binding and essential 
portion of the ceremony. 

5. Tamhord: — The bridal pair are seated on the bohoJd and 

married females, whose husbands are living, _touch th^ 

feet, knees and shoulders of the pair with their fingers, 

holding at the same time a mango leaf and yellow rice in 

their hands. Dhendd, as described under Dhanojia 

Kunbis, is performed and the bridal pair return in 

procession to the bridegroom's house. 

Barais allow a widow to marry again and do not require her to 

marry her late husband's younger brother or any other relative. The 

marriage ceremony is of the type common among other castes of the 

locality. An areca nut is offered to Maruti, representing the deceased 

husband's spirit, and is subsequently placed on a low wooden stool 

and kicked off by the new bridegroom in token of his usurping the 

other's place ; the nut* is finally buried to lay the dead husband's spirit. 

The bridal pair are then seated side by side and their garments 

are tied in a knot. The bride is presented with a new sari, new 

bangles are put on her wrists and a spot of \unkum or red aniline 

powder is made oh her foreheacj. This concludes the ceremony. 

The ividow forfeits all claims to her late husband's property. 

A bachelor marrying a widow must first go through the cere- 



Barai 31 



hen a 



nipny of marriage with a mi plant (Calotropis gigantea). Wh 
widower marries a virgin, a silver impression, representing the deceased 
first wife, is made and worshipped daily with the family gods. 
Divorce is permitted with the consent of the caste Panchayat (council) 
on the ground of the wife's adultery, or if the couple do 'not agree. 
If a- husband divorces his wife merely on account of bad temper, he 
must maintain her so long as she remains unmarried and continues 
to lead a moral life. 

^Religion._.In matters of religion, the Barais follow the 
usages of all orthodox Hindus. Their favourite deity is Kurbhan, 
adored inVhe form of an idol made of sandalwood. Ancestral 
worship is "in strong force and silver impressions, representing the 
departed ancestors, are placed among the family gods and worship- 
ped every three years with offeriflgs of goats and fowls. Reverence 
is also paid to the animistic deities of Pochamma and Mari Ai. 
Greater gods, such as Balaji, Anant, Shiv and his consort Gouri, 
are vforshipped under the guidance of Brahmans, who serve them 
» as priesta on all ceremonial and religious occasions, and act as their 
spiritual advisers (gurus). 

According to the Barais themselves, their special and charac- 
teristic deity is the Nag, or cobra, in whose honour the festival of 
Nag Panchmi is observed every year. The following story related 
in this connection deserves nntention * : — 

"Formerly there was no betel vine on the earth. But when 
the five" Pandava brothers celebrated the great horse sacrifice after 
their victory at Hastinapur, they wanted some, and so messengers 
were sent down below the earth to the residence of the queen of the 
serpents in order to try and obtain it. Basuki, the king of the 
serpents, obligingly cut off the top joint of his little finger and gave 
it to, the messengers. This was brought up and sown on the earth 
and pan creepers grew out of the joint. For this reason, the betel 
vine has no blossoms or seeds, but the joints of the creepers are cut 
off'and sown, when they sprout afresh, and the betel vine is called 
Ndgbel or the serpent creeper. <Dn the day of Nag Panchmi (the 

* Central Provinces Ethnographic Report, pp. 1 — 9. 



32 Barai 

r 

fifth of the light half of Shravana). the Barais go to the bureja wi^ 
flowers, cocoanuts and other offerings, and worship a stone which is 
placed in it and which represents the Nag or cobra. A goat or 
sheep is sacrificed and they return home, no leaf of the pan garden 
being touched on that day. A cup of milk is also left in the belief 
that a cobra will come out of the pan garden and drink it." 

The Barais say that the members of their caste are never bitten 
by the cobra, though many of these snakes frequent the betel gardens 
on account of the moist coolness and shade which 4hey afford. 

Disposal of the Dead — The dead are burned in a 
lying posture with the head pointing to the south. Bodiej'of unmar- 
ried persons, of lepers, and of those who died of smallpsx, cholera, 
or snake-bite, are buried. The ashes and bones are collected on the 
tenth day after death and thrown into a river or stream. On the 
same day, Srddha is performed for the benefit of the soul of the 
deceased, to whom seven balls of wheaten flour are offered and 
subsequently thrown into a stream or tank. Mourning is observ&d for 
ten days for adults and for three days for children. Anqestors in « 
general are propitiated in the months of Vaishakh and Bhadrapad. 

Social Status — In point of social standing the Barais 
rank a little above the Maratha Kunbis and eat food cooked only by a 
Brahman, while Maratha Kunbis and Kapus take food cooked by a 
Barai. The members of the caste eat the flesh of fowl, fish, deer, 
goat and hare and drink fermented liquors. 

Occupation — The chief and characteristic occupation 
of the caste is the growing of the pan plant or Piper Betle. Of late 
years some have taken to trade, while others are found in Government 
service. The Barais also sell betel leaves and usually employ women 
for this purpose. Pan leaves are sold at from 1 to 2 annas per 
hundred, or at a higher rate when they are out of season. For retail 
sale, bi'das are prepared, consisting of rolled betel leaves containing 
areca or betel nut, quick lime and catechu, and fastened with a 
clove. These are sold at from 1 to 2 for a pice. 

The pan vine fs very delicata and requires careful cultivation. 
The /5dn gardens (Pan Maids) are treated liberally witii manure 
and irrigated. The enclosure, generally eight feet high, is sup- 



Barai * 33 

t 

ported by pdngra (Er'^thrma indica) and nim {Melia indica) trees. The 
sides are closely matted with reeds to protect the interior from wind 
and the sun's rays. Care is taken to drain off the rain as it falls, 
it being essential for the healthy growth of the plants that the 
ground is kept dry. The joints of the creepers are planted in June- 
July and begin to supply leaves in about five or six months' time. 
The plant being a fast growing one has its shoots loosely tied with 
grass to upright Qoles supplied by pdngra (Erythrina indica) and 
shei)ri*{Sesbania cEg\)ptiaca) trees, while every year it is drawn down 
and coiled *it the root. Weeds are carefully eradicated. Pan 
leaves are plucked throughout the year, but are most abundant in 
September and October, while a garden, if carefully looked after, 
continues productive for from 8 to 10 years. 

A Pan Mala is regarded as sacred by the growers, and women, 
when ceremonially unclean, are not allowed to enter it ; animals 
found igside are driven out. At the present day the castes that 
^e engaged in rearing the betel vine in these Dominions are Tirgul 
Brahmans, Ful Malis, Binjiodes and Lingayits. 



VI 

Bedar 

Bedar, Bendar, Berad — the great hunting and, agricultural tribe 
of the Carnatic, identical with the Boyas of Telingana ana the 
Ramoshis of the Marathawada. They call themselves l<^Qnayamkula 
' descendants of Kanayam," Dhorimkulam " children of ichiefs " and 
Valmika Kshatriyas " Kshatriyas descended from Valmiki." They 
are a wild and fierce looking people, of coarse features and dark 
complexion, and bear an evil reputation as highway robbers and 
dakaits. Their predatory habits have been greatly repressed, and 
they are now largely employed as village watchmen. •• 

Origin, — The word Bedar is derived from Byaderus, a corruption c 
of Vyadherus (Sansk- Byadha, a hunter). The origin of the tribe 
has been the subject of many legends. According to one they are 
descended from the primitive pair, Kannayya and Kanakavva who are 
fabled to have sprung from the right and left eyes of Basvanna 
respectively. The Bedars claim descent also from Valmiki, who 
is represented In the Purdnds as being reclaimed from his pernicious 
and marauding habits by the divine sage Narad. But the legend 
which is very widely current among them, states that from the 
thigh of the dead king Hoti of the Solar race was produced, by 
the great Rishis, a black dwarf, ugly in appearance and ferocious in 
habits. Being unfit to rule, he was driven by the sages into 
the jungles to live on forest produce or by hunting. In his wanderings 
he once met Menika, a celestial nymph of matchless beauty, and made 
love to her. Their union was blessed with seven sons : — " 



(1) 


Nishad, 1 


(5) 


Ksharakari, 


(2) 


Shera', f 


(6) 


Ansari and 


(3) 


Kuvangriyari, j 


(7) 


Sheshatardhari 


(4) 


Salika, i 










Bedar 35 

from whom sprang the following seven great clans of Bedars, bearing 
the names of their progenitors : — 

(1) Nishadas, who hunted tigers, bears and wild boars and 

ate the flesh of buffaloes. 

(2) Sheras, who made a living by selling jungle roots, fruit 

and sandalwood {Sanialum album). 

(3) Kavangriyaris, who wore long hair and had their ear-lobes 

bored with large holes. They subsisted on the sale of 
m biold {Pterocarpus marsupium) and oyster shells. 

(4) Salikas, who were employed as day labourers in digging 
• wells and tanks. 

(5) Ksharakaris, who made lime and salt. 

(6) Ansaris, who were fishermen and worked also as ferrymen. 

(7) Sheshatardharis, who were hunters and fowlers. 

All these seven clans were distinguished by their respective 
gotrq names or bedigd — 

^ (1) Gojaldaru or Gujjar. 

(2) Gosalru or Gurral. 

(3) Bhadmandalkaru. 

(4) Saranga Gunda Bahsarandlu or Sarang Gauda. 

(5) Tayarasamantaru or Tair Samant. 

(6) Pingal Rangamanya. 

(7) Rajadhiraj (Maharaja). 

This elaborate organisation appears to be traditional and to have 
no bearing upon the present social division of the tribe. 

Early History — The Bedars were a Southern India tribe 
and came into the Deccan under their leader Kalappa Naik early 
in the sixteenth century. They first settled at Adhoni and 
Dambala, situated in the Raichur Duab, which was then a bone of 
contention between Krishna Raylu, the king of Vijayanagaram, and 
Ismail Adil Shah, the Sultan of Bijapur. The Bedars, taking 
advantage of the disturbed times, raided and plundered the country 
far and wide, so that, for the ti*ie being, they* were tine terror of the 
surrounding districts. Partly by colonisation and partly 4)y con- 
quest, they gradually extended their territories until, under Pam 



r 



36 Bedar 

r 

Naik 1. (1674-1695), they founded a State, and fixed their capital at 
Vakinagir, two mrles west of Shorapur. Pam Naik was the bravest 
of the dynasty and helped Sikandar Adil Shah, the last of the 
Bijapur Sultans, in subduing his rebel nobles and in his wars with 
the Generals of Aurangzeb. The Sultan, in gratitude, granted him 
a magnificent jagir and conferred upon him all the insignia of 
royalty with the titles " Gajag Bahirand Gaddi Bahari Bahadur." 
Pam Naik styled himself Raja, a title which has since descended to 
his successors. He organised the State, dividing it mto provinces, 
over which he appointed Subedars. He was also a great builder, 
and raised new forls, constructed roads and tanks, and bu^It stately 
temples. It was in his time that the kingdoms of Bijapur and 
Golconda were subdued by Aurangzeb. In his successor, Pid Naik 
Bahari (1695-1725 A.D.), the power of the Bedars had reached its 
zenith. He strongly resisted the power of Aurangzeb, and 
defeated the Imperial forces in pitched battles. At last the 
Emperor took the field in person and besieged the Bedar strong-hold 
of Vakingira. The fort made a galant stand, but was reduced ulti- 
mately by Zulfikarkhan, the best of Aurangzeb's Generals. It was, 
however, retaken by the Bedars immediately on the departure of 
Aurangzeb. Pid Naik removed the seat of government from 
Vakingira to Shorapur, which he founded on a hill. He introduced 
many reforms and ruled the State in greater splendour than any of his 
predecessors. After a glorious reign of 31 years he died in 1726 
A.D. The later history of the Shorapur Rajas is blended with 
that of the Nizams of Hyderabad, whom they acknowledged as 
their suzerain lords, paying an annual tribute of 1,45,000 rupees. 
Though brave, they were not able rulers and were not infrequently 
involved in the wars of the Nizams with the Marathas and other 
contemporary powers. The decline of the State had already com- 
menced and was hastened by internal dissensions, mal-administration 
and reckless extravagance, until, after a brief revival under the 
administration of Colonel Meadows Taylor, it was confiscated ont 
account of the rebellion of the Raja '-Venkatappa Naik against the 
British Government (1858), and ceded to H. H. the Nizam in 
1860 A.D. 



Bedar 37 

• Internal S'tructure,— The internal structure of the 
Bedars is very intricate. This is due, partly to the large area over 
which they are scattered, and partly to the different social levels 
that have been formed among them. Thus at the highest level are 
the Rajas and rich landholders who have, in every respect, assumed 
the' style of higher Hindu castes, while the lowest level is occupied 
by the bulk of the people who adhere to their aboriginal customs 
and usages and have few scruples in diet — eating beef, as well as 
catj and other ^inclean animals. The following endogamous groups 
are found among them : — 

(1) badar or Naikulu (Valmika) Bedars. 

(2) Tanged Bedars. 

(3) Mangala Bedars. 

(4) Chakla Bedars. 

(5) Neech Bedars. 

(6) Basavi Bedars. 

(7) Ramoshi Bedars. 

(8) Jas Bedars. 

(9) Bedars (proper). 

Of these, the Naikulu sub-tribe, called also Naikulu Maklus, 
claim the highest rank and decline to hold any communion either of 
food or of matrimony with the other sub-tribes. To this sub-tribe 
the Bedar Rajas of Shorapur and other principalities belong. The 
Mangala Bedars are barbers and the Chakla Bedars washermen to 
the Bedar tribes and have, in consequence of their occupation, 
formed separate groups. Neech Bedars are known to abstain from 
eating fowl or drinking shendi, the fermented sap of the wild date 
palm. They do not touch the shendi tree, nor sit on a mat made 
of its leaves. Basavi Bedars are the progeny of Basavis, or Bedar 
girls dedicated to the gods and brought up, subsequently, as prosti- 
tutes. They form a separate community comprising (1) children of 
unions, by regular marriage, between the sons and daughters of 
Basavis, (2) the children of Basatis themselves.' While among other 
Bedar tribes Basavis are made in pursuance of vows ot Ancient 
family customs, among Basavi Bedars there is a rule under which 



38 Bedar 

r 

each family is said to be bound to offer up one of its girls to thj 
gods as Basavi. The daughters of Basaois, for whom husbands 
cannot be procured in their community, are wedded to swords or 
idols. On an auspicious day, the girl to be dedicated is taken, m 
procession, to the temple, bearing on her head a lighted lamp. 
After she has been made to hang a garland round the sword or the 
idol, a tali (mangalsutra) is tied round her neck and her marriage with 
the sword or the idol is complete. She is, thenceforward, allowed to 
consort with any man provided that he is not of a lower caste },han 
herself. A Basaoi girl is entitled to share, equally with her brothers, 
the property of her father or mother. The euphemistic n,-me Basavi 
originally denoted girls who were dedicated to Ba^vanna, the 
deified founder of the Lingayit sect, but the title is, at the present 
day, borne by a girl dedicated to any god. 

The Ramoshi Bedars are found in large numbers in the 
Marathawada districts. They are, no doubt, a branch of Bedars 
who appear to have migrated to the Maratha country after their lettlfr- 
ment in the Carnatic. This view is supported by a tradition which 
states that they came into Maharashtra under the five sons of 
Kalappa Naik. In their features and customs, but especially in their 
predatory tendencies, they have preserved the characteristics of their 
race. They .regard, with pride, the Raja of Shorapur as the head 
of their clan. Like their brethren in the Carnatic, they were highly 
valued for their military qualities, filled the armies of Shivaji and 
his successors, and distinguished themselves as brave soldiers. During 
the last century they gave a good deal of trouble to British officers, 
but they have now settled down as industrious cultivators. Their 
social status among the Maratha castes is very low, for even their 
touch is regarded as unclean by the respectable classes. They appear 
to have broken off all connection with the Carnatic Bedars and form 
at present an independent group. They talk Marathi in their 
houses. The word ' Ramoshi ' is a local name and is supposed to be 
a corruption of Rama-vanshis "descendants of Rama" or ^of 
Ranwashis, meaning dwellers of foissts.' Bedars (proper) occupy the 
lowest*" level among the tribe. They cling to their aboriginal usages, 
eating beef and canion and worshipping animistic deities. They 



Bedar 39 

cany Margamma Devi on their heads in a box, and subsist \,y beg- 
^g alms in her name. 

The Boyas, as the Bedars are designated in Telingana, are 
divided into (I) Sadar Boy a and (2) Boy a, corresponding to the Sadar 
Bedars and the Bedars of the Carnatic. It is also said that they 
have only two main divisions (i) Nyas Byadrus, (2) Gugaru Byadrus, 
the members of which neither eat together nor intermarry. 

The Bedars are said to be divided into 101 exogamous sections, 
numbers of which are of the totemistic type, although the totems do 
not .appear to \fe respected. 

Marriage in one's own section is strictly forbidden, The 
marriage o4 two sisters to the same husband is permitted, provided the 
elder is mVried first. Two brothers may marry two sisters and 
a man may marry the daughter of his elder sister. 

A member of a higher caste may gain admission into the Bedar 
community by paying a fine to the tribal Panchd^at and by providing 
a feast for the members of the community. On the occasion, the 
proselyte is required to eat with them and subsequently to have a 
betel -nut cut on the tip of his tongue. After the meals he is 
required to remove all the plates. 

Marriage — The Bedars marry their daughters either as 
infants, or after they have attained the age of puberty. Sexual indis- 
cretions before marriage are tolerated and are condoned only by a 
slight punishment. Should a girl become pregnant before marriage 
her seducer is compelled to marry her. Cohabitation is permitted, 
even though the girl has not attained sexual maturity. Polygamy is 
recognised and a man may marry as many wives as his means allow 
him to maintain. 

The marriage ceremony of the Bedars comprises rituals which 
correspond closely with those in use among other local castes. A 
suitable girl having been selected, and preliminary arrangements and 
ceremonies concluded, a marriage pandal of five pillars of shevri 
{Seshania eBg\)ptiacd) is erected in the court-yard of the bridegroom's 
house. On the arrival of the bride at the bridegroom's house the 
bridal pair are seated on a platfAm, built, under the wedding bower, 
with ant-hill earth, and are rubbed over with turmeric pasteTjy five 



40 Bedar f 

married females. Previous to the wedding, four earthen vessels, 
filled with water, are set at the comers of a square space prepared 
outside the booth, and are connected with a cotton thread. 
A fifth vessel, also filled with water, is kept in the 
centre of the square, and covered with a burning lamp. 
The bridal pair, with their sisters, are seated opposite to 
this lamp, and made to undergo ceremonial ablution. Dressed in 
new wedding garments, with their brows adorned with bashingams, 
and the ends of their clothes knotted together, the bride and bride- 
groom are led immediately to a seat under the booth and are w^ded 
by Brahmans who hold an antarpdt (a silk curtain) between the pair, 
pronounce benedictory mantras and shower rice and grain over their 
heads. Mangalsutra, or the lucky bead necklace, is hanied round to 
be touched by the whole assembly, and tied, in the presence of the caste 
Panchayat, by the bridegroom round the bride's neck. The couple 
are then led round, making obeisance first to the gods, then to 
the Panchas and lastly to the elderly relatives. The ceremony next 
in importance, and purely of a Kulachar character, is Bhrnnd, cele- 
brated on the 3rd day after the wedding. A conical heap ei cooked 
rice, crested with twenty wheat cakes and a quantity of vegetables, 
is deposited on a piece of white cloth under the wedding pandal. 
Before this sacred heap, frankincense is burnt and offerings of eleven 
betel -leaves and nuts and eleven copper coins are made. After two 
handfuls of this food have been handed to the bridal pair, eleven 
married couples mix the food with sugar and ghi and eat it. After 
the meal is over, five of them touch, with their hands soiled with 
food, the bodies of the wedded pair who, thereupon, are required 
to cast away the lumps of food they held in their hands. The cele- 
bration of the Dandya ritual on the 4th day, and the bestowal of a 
feast to the relatives and friends, bring the nuptial proceedings to a 
close. It is said that Bedars abstain from drink during the four days 
of the marriage ceremony. 

Except among respectable families, a Bedar widow is allowed 
to marry again, but not the brother of her deceased husband. She 
may, however, re-marfy the husband t>f her elder sister. The price for 
a widfiw is Rs. 12 and is generally paid to her parents. The 



Bedar 41 

ceremony is of a, simple character. At night the parties repair to 
nanuman's temple, where the bride is presented with a new white 
sari, a choli (bodice) and some bangles. After the widow has put 
on these, her proposed husband ties pusti (a bead necklace) about 
her neck. The assembly then return to the bridegroom's house. 
Next day a feast is given to the members of the tribe in honour of 
the event. 

Divorce. — Divorce is recognised by those who allow their 
widows to re-marry. A divorced woman can claim alimony from 
hv husband if it be the latter's fault that led to the divorce. If a 
woman goes wrong with a man of a lower caste she is turned out of 
her community. Liaison with a man of a higher caste is tolerated, 
and condoned only by a small fine. Divorced women are permitted 
to marry again by the same rite as widows. 

Inheritance. — In matters of inheritance, the Bedars follow the 
Hindu law. The usage of ChudaWand obtains among them. 
Under this usage the property is divided equally among wives, 
provided they have sons. A Basavi girl (dedicated to the gods) 
shares 'equally with her brothers. 

Religion — In point of religion, the Bedars are divided into 
Vaishanavas and Saivas. The Vaishnavas worship Vishnu and his 
incarnations of Rama and Shri Vyankatesh. The Shivas pay 
homage to the god Siva and generally abstain from all work on 
Mondays, in honour of the deity. Some of the Bedars follow the 
tenets of Lingayitism, do reverence to Basava in the form of a bull, 
and employ jangams as their priests. The favourite deity with 
Basavi Bedars is Shri Krishna, in whose honour a great festival is 
held on the Janmashtami day (the 8th of the light half of 
Shravana). But the special deities of the tribe are Hanuman ar)d 
Ellama, worshipped on Saturday, when the Bedars abstain from 
flesh. Their principal festivals are Dassera in Aswin (October- 
November) and Basant Panchmi in Magh (February-March), which 
are celebrated with great pomp and ceremony. Pochamma (the 
smallpox deity), Mariamma (the goddess presiding over cholera), 
Maisamma, Balamma, Nagamwia (the serpent* goddess) and a host of 
minor gods and spirits are also appeased with offerings of'^animals. 



42 Bedar 

The wotship of departed souls is said to prevail among the tribe. 

Child=Birth A woman, after child-birth, is unclean for fivfe 

days. As soon as the child is born, its umbilical cord is cut by the 
mid- wife, and buried underground on the 3rd day after birth. 
Brahmans are employed for religious and ceremonial purposes. 

Disposal of the Dead — The Vaishanava Bedars burn 
their dead in a lying posture, while the Saivas bury them in a sitting 
posture with the face turned towards the east. Members of res- 
pectable families perform Srddha on the 12th and 13th days, and 
generally conform to the funeral rites in vogue amon^ the Brahm^s. 

Social Status — The social status of the Bedars is not easy 
to define. The great Zamindars and Rajas occupy an" eminent 
position in the caste and are looked upon with respect, fvhile even 
the touch of the Ramoshi Bedars is regarded as unclean. Village wells 
are open to them for water and temples are open to them for worship. 
Concerning their diet they have few scruples — eating beef, pork, fowl, 
jackals, rats, lizards, wild cats, in short all animals except snakes, 
dogs and kites. They eat carrion and indulge freely' in 
spirituous and fermented liquors. They do not eat the leavings 
of any caste. 

Occupation. — The Bedars believe their original occupation 
to be hunting and military service. Peaceful times and the introduc- 
tion of game laws have compelled them to take to agriculture. They 
are also employed as village watchmen and messengers and discharge 
their duties faithfully. As agriculturists, a few have risen to the 
position of great land-lords and jdgirdars. The bulk are either 
occupancy and non-occupancy ryots or landless day-labourers. 

Panchayat — The Bedars have a strong tribal Panchdyat 
known as Kattd. The head of the Panchayat is called Kattimani 
and has authority both in religious and social matters. All social, 
religious and ceremonial points and disputes are referred to this body 
for decision, and judgments passed by it are irrevocable and 
enforced on pain of loss of caste. A woman accused of adultery, 
or of eating food from a member of an inferior caste, is expelled 
from the community arfd is restored anly on her head being shaved 
and the^rap of her tongue branded with a live coal of the mi plant. 



Bedar 



43 



1% the case of the ?nan, his head and face are clean shaved. Both 
are required to bathe and their bodies are sprinkled over with some 
spirits, upon which they become purified. 

Note : — Cohabitation and pregnancy before marriage are 
tolerated, and condoned by the girl's marriage with her paramour. 
Every woman is compelled to be tatooed. 

Distribution. — The following statement shows the number and 
distribution of Bedars in 1911 : — ■ 



District . 


Males. 


Females. 


Hyderabad City 


1,873 


1,854 


Atraf, Balda 


135 


136 


Warangal 


141 


107 


Karimnagar 


196 


188 


Adilabad 


999 


845 


Medak 


124 


108 


Nizamabad 


35 


25 


'Mahbubnagar 


849 


803 


Nalgunda 


27 


8 


Aurangabad 


221 


147 


Bir 


109 


76 


Nander 


697 


675 


Parbhani 


320 


348 


Gulbargah . . 


25,432 


25,217 


Usmanabad 


1,113 


1,074 


Raichur 


70,314 


70,538 


Bidar 


1,218 


1,142 



I 



VII 

Bhadbhunja 

Bhadbhunja, Bhatb'nunja — a grain parching caste, found in 
almost all the Marathwada towns and the Hyderabad city. They 
are divided into two classes : — Maratha and Pardeshi. The 
Maratha Bhudbhunjas are, no doubt, recruited from among the 
Maratha Kunbis, whom they resemble in appearance,, customs, 
and habits, and consequently require no special description. The 
Pardeshi Bhadbhunjas, as their name denotes, are outsiders, having 
come into these Dominions from Northern India, especially from 
Cawnpur, Mathura, Lucknow and Bareilly. They are supposed to 
be descended from a Kahar father and a Shudra mother, thus ranking 
among the mixed castes. The Bhudbhunjas are not to be confounded 
with the Halwdis, or confectioners, who make and sell sweetmeats but 

to 

do not parch grains. 

Internal Structure — The Bhudbhunjas are divided into 
the following sub-castes : — Shri Basant, Barelikade, Kandu, 
Chaktaina, Kaithwar, Guryar, Bhadesia and Kanaujia, who are 
strictly endogamous. All Bhudbhunjas style themselves as Kanojia 
and allege that they have only one gotra (section) Kashyap. This is 
of course taken as an ornamental appendage and is inoperative in 
the regulation of their marriages. No information is available as to 
the precise form of exogamy practised by the caste. 

Marriage — Girls are married both as infants and as adults 
between the ages of twelve and sixteen years. In the case of adults, 
sexual intercourse before marriage is tolerated, and may be atoned 
for by payment of a fine to the Panchdyat. If a girl becomes 
pregnant before marriage, she is called upon to disclose the name of 
her lover, who is compelled to take her to wife. Polygamy is per- 
mitted up to a limit of two wives ; but in practice a second wife is 
taken only in the event of the first bemg barren or suffering from an 
mcurable' disease. 



Bhadbhunja 45 

• 

The marriage ceremony is of the type in use among Jaiswar Teli 
and other Northern India castes of the same social position. The 
initiative is taken by the father of the bridegroom, who employs emis- 
saries to settle the match. If the terms are agreeable to the bride's 
parents, the marriage is at once agreed upon and the occasion is 
celebrated by a feast to caste panchds and other caste brethren, 
when liquor is provided by the father of the bride. On an aus- 
picious day, a booth, supported by five pillars, is erected at the 
bride'4 house. At the foot of the central pillar are placed leaves 
of the mango and urnbar {Ficm glomerata) trees, with an earthen 
pot of water»topped by a constantly burning lamp fed with oil or ghi. 
Near the lamp jav grains are sown on a small earthen mound raised on 
the ground. On the wedding morning, a man is sent with a present of 
unhusked rice to the bridegroom's house, and the bridegroom's 
party have it parched, the women of the house singing songs at the 
time. At night, the wedding procession starts from the bridegroom's 
house and on its way to the bride's makes a halt at a well. Here 
the bridegtoom dismounts from his horse and goes seven times round 
the well, accompanied by five married females whose husbands are 
living. Every time he passes his mother, who is sitting on the rim of 
the well with one foot hanging over the edge, he touches her head. On 
the completion of the seventh round, he goes to her and pretends to 
suck her milk, promising, in the presence of the deity presiding over 
water, that he will never abandon her. The procession then 
resumes its march towards the bride's house. On arrival, the bride- 
groom is conducted to a seat under the wedding canopy. Here the 
bride joins him. Kanyddan, the gift of the bride to the bridegroom 
and his acceptance of her, takes place, and the bridal pair wear 
paper crowns on their heads and iron bracelets on their wrists. Horn, 
or sacred fire, is made, round which the bridal pair, with 
their garments knotted, walk six times. This is followed by 
Smdmddn, when the bridal pair are seated side by side covered 
with a sheet of cloth, and the bridegroom takes a small cup of 
vermilion in his left hand and witlf his right han3 smears the colour 
on the parting of the bride's hair. This done, the bridal pair fftake 
the seventh round. This seventh circuit round the fire 



46 Bhadbhunja 



f 



is deemed to be the binding and essential portion of the 
marriage ceremony. 

A widow may marry again and the ritual in use is less meagre 
than is usual among other widow-marrying castes. A Brahman is 
employed to recite mantrds and sindur (vermilion) is besmeared on 
the forehead of the widow. She is not obliged to marry her late 
husband's younger brother, should such a relative exist, but in 
practice it is usual for her to do so. If she prefers to marry an 
outsider, the members of her late husband's family may tlaim 
custody of her male children by him. 

Divorce. — Bhadbhunjas allow of divorce for adultery with a 
member of the caste and permit divorced wives to marry again. A 
woman who has a liaison with an outsider is excluded from the caste. 

Religion — In matters of religion, the caste seem to belong 
to the Saiva sect and worship Mahadev and his ' form Bhairava, 
Kanojia Brahmans serve them as priests and, if these are not 
available, local Brahmans are employed for religious and ceremonial 
purposes. Among their minor gods are Khandoba, 'Narsoba, 
Hanuman, Bhavani of Tuljapur, and the animistic deities of 
Pochamma, Mariamma, and Maisamma. They observe all the fasts 
and festivals of local Hindus and make pilgrimages to Tuljapur, 
Pandharpur and Alandi. 

Disposal of the Dead — The dead are burnt in a lying 
posture, with the head pointing to the north. The ashes aie collected 
on the third day after death and thrown into the nearest river or 
stream. Bodies of persons that are unmarried are buried. Mourn- 
ing is observed nine days for females and thirteen days for males. 
On the tenth day after death the chief mourner shaves his head, 
bathes and offers ten pindds, or oblations of rice, for the benefit of 
the soul of the deceased. On the eleventh day the chief mournei 
entertains the relatives of the deceased and other caste brethren at a 
feast and on the 12th day he is presented with a turban by his caste 
people, who raise a subscription for the purpose. Ances- 
tors, in general, are appeased* in the month of Bhadrapad 
(September). Brahmans are called in to conduct the funeral 
ceremony . 



• 



Bhadbhunja 47 



Social Status — Among Upper India castes the Bhad- 
bhunjas hold a social position which may be said to be respectable. 
On this side of the country they eat food cooked by a Brahman ; 
while no caste except the lowest unclean classes eat /jac/ii from their 
hands. All castes, including Brahmans, eat sweetmeats prepared 
by a Bhadbhunja. The members of the caste eat mutton, (ish, the 
flesh of deer and hare, and indulge freely in strong liquor. They 
do not eat fow^. 

Occupation. — Bhadbhunjas believe the parching of grain 
to be their original and characteristic occupation. Some have 
enlisted in^the native army and a few have taken to agriculture. 

The actual work of parching grain is usually done by women. 
The process is a simple one. A clay oven is built somewhat in the 
shape of a bee hive with ten or twelve holes in the top. A lire is 
lighted inside and broken earthen pots containing sand are put on the 
holej. The grain to be parched is thrown in with the sand and 
stirred with a flat piece of wood or a broom until it is ready. The 
wages of the parcher vary according to the quality of the grain, 
millet costing half an anna and gram three-quarters of an anna per seer. 



VIII 

Bhamta 

Origin and Occupation — Bhamta — a caste of pick-pockets, 
found mostly in the districts of Bir and Aurangabad, extending soufci- 
ward to Latur in the Usmanabad and to Kalyani and Humnabad in the 
Gulbarga Districts. In their manners and language they resemble the 
poorer Kunbis of these places. They are popularly known as Pathrods, 
or Patharkers (mill-stone pointers), as their ostensible means of liveli- 
hood is the pointing and repairing of mill-stones. For purposes of 
crime, they assume various disguises and visit great fairs and festivals, 
where large crowds of men, dressed in their gayest clothes, and of 
women decked in jewels, assemble. With their peculiar knives, or with 
pieces of broken glass, they rip open bags and pockets and cut the 
strings of jewels worn by women and children and readily pass the 
pilfered articles to their accomplices, so that if a Bhamta is caught, 
nothing is found on his person and he has to be released. Sometimes, 
respectably dressed, they gain admission to the best of the community, 
and while the unsuspecting victims are reposing full confidence in them 
they are robbed of their valuables. On their predatory excursions 
they travel in parties of four or five and are often accompanied by 
their women and children. 

The Bhamtas are early trained in the art of picking pockets 
and snatching jewels from unsuspecting travellers. When a boy is 
ten years old, he is taken to a fair, and if he succeeds in his first 
attempt at pilfering a goat is sacrificed to Mari Ai, their tutelary 
goddess. If he fails, or subsequently shows inaptitude in the 
profession, no one gives him his daughter in marriage and he is 
degraded. 

The Bhamtas hold the arandi, castor plant (Ricinus communis), 
m great awe. It is said that while no torture will extract from them, 
a moan or a tear, they will, if threatened with a stick of arandi, at 



• Bhamta 49 

once confess their guilt. 

Internal Structure — The Bhamtas have no endogamous divi- 
sions. A few of their exogamous sections are : — 

Pawar Aundhe 

Idur Gawad 

Jadhava Sheke 

Andgule Shirke. 

Marriage. — The rule of exogamy is carefully observed and a 
man may not maury a woman belonging to the same section as himself. 
Bhamtas practice both infant and adult marriages. Polygamy is per- 
mitted and- in theory there is no limit to the number of wives. The 
marriage ceremony is of the standard form. After the bride has been 
selected and the bride-price settled and paid, a lucky day is fixed for 
the celebration of the wedding. Previous to the wedding, goats and 
fowls are killed as a sacrifice to the deities Mari Ai and Tuljapur 
Bhavani. A procession is formed conducting the bridegroom, on a 
builloci, to the bride's house, where, on arrival, he goes straight to 
. the wedding canopy. Here he is joined by the bride, and the bridal 
pair are made to stand opposite each other while the Brahman, who 
officiates as priest, holds an antarpdt between them, recites mantras 
and throws jawari (millet) grains over their heads. A feast to 
the caste brethren concludes the ceremony. 

A widow may marry again, by an inferior rite, at which the 
clothes of the bridal couple are knotted together and jaggery 
(molasses) is distributed among the assembly. The ceremony takes 
place at night and, after the wedding, the bridal pair have to pass the 
remainder of the night, outside the village, in some temple or grove. 
Only widows attend the ceremony, married women, whose husbands 
are living, deeming it unlucky to be present. 

Divorce is permitted with the sanction of the Pancha^at of the 
caste and divorced women may marry again by the same rite as widows. 
Religion — Bhamtas are Hindus by religion, and look upon Mari 
Ai (the goddess who presides over cholera) as their special deity, whom 
they worship with offerings of goats and fowls. Reverence is also paid 
to Bhavani of Tuljapur. Brahmans are employed for religio';^ and 
ceremonial purposes. After a successful foray, goats are sacrificed 
4 



50 Bhamta ' 

to Mari Ai and the booty is shared equally by the band engaged 
in the pilfering expedition. 

Disposal of the Dead — The dead are usually burnt, but are 
occasionally buried in a lying posture. The Srddha is performed on 
the 13th day. Ancestors in general are propitiated in the month of 
Bhadrapad (September-October), and on the liiird day of the light 
half of Vaishakha (May). 

Social Status — Bhamtas, socially, rank immediately below the 
Maratha Kunbis : barbers, oilmen and washermen<eat kachi (cooked 
food) from their hands. They eat mutton, fowl and fish and indulge 
in strong drinks. 






IX 

Bhandari 

Origin and Internal Structure — Bhandari, Shingade, 
Sanai^ad — a smedl caste of temple musicians found in all districts 
of the Dominions. A popular tradition represents them as having 
sprung front, the matted hair of the god Siva. Bhandaris have no 
endogamous tlivisions, while their exogamous sections are mostly of 
the territorial type. Some of them are : — 

Rahareker Kotgir 

Gangamale Kallale 

Nalure Nagarpalli 

* Kandrollu Nazampurollu. 

Mari;iage. — A man cannot marry a woman belonging to his own 
section, but he may marry the daughter of his maternal uncle or elder 
sister. Two sisters may be married to the same man. 

Bhandaris marry their daughters as infants. A bride-price, 
tanging from Rs. 10 to Rs. 40, is paid to the parents of tlie girl. 

Previous to the marriage ceremony Khandoba and other tutelary 
deities are worshipped. The marriage ceremony is of the orthodox 
type and does not differ from that in practice among the higher castes. 
Widows are allowed to marry again and divorce is recognised. 
Divorced wives may marry again by the same rites as widows. 

Religion — Khandoba and Bhavani are the chief objects of their 
worship. Departed ancestors are honoured in the form of Virs * and 
Munj^as, + who are represented either by earthen balls smeared with 
vermilion, or by engravings of human forms on silver or copper. 
They have a strong belief in ghosts and magic, and in sickness the 
ghost is identified and appeased. Brahmans are employed in the 
marriage ceremony and the worshiji of Satya Narayan. 



* Virs are the spirits of persons who die in battle. 

+ Munjyas ate the ghosts of thread-girt, but unmarried, Brahman lads. 



52 Bhandari 

Disposal of the Dead — The dead are buried In a sitting 
posture with the face pointing to the east. Jangams officiate at the 
funeral ceremonies. 

Social Status — Socially, they rank below telis, or oilmen, and 
darzis, or tailors ; they eat pork, fowl and mutton and drink spirituous 
and fermented liquors. They do not eat the leavings of other castes. 

Occupation. — They are temple musicians and play on the sanai,' 
a pipe, samhal, a drum, and cymbals, and blow the shinga or conch 
at the worship of the temple deity. They also make leaf-plat;s and 
cups. They have a caste Panchdyat presided over by a mehataryd 
or chaudhari. • 






X 

Bhat 

Origin. — Bhat, Thakur, Shivachandi Thakur — a caste of genea- 
logists and family Jsards found in the Marathawada Districts. Their 
original name was Thakur and the designation ' Shivachandi Thakur ' 
was subsequsntly adopted by thera, probably to elevate their parent- 
age to the go4 Siva, from whose third eye they claim to have sprung. 
Regarding their origin very little is known. Their traditions say 
that they came from North India during the rule of the Bahmani kings 
and were employed as bards to the noble Maratha families as the 
latter rose into prominence. The word ' Thakur ' is either a title 
applied .to the nobles of Rajputana, or an epithet of the god Balaji 
(Shri Krishna), and although some of the members of the caste claim 
to be descended from the god Balaji, it may be more reasonable to 
suppose that they were a branch of one of the Rajput clans bearing 
the name as a tribal designation. At the present day, however, the 
Thakurs have become so thoroughly assimilated with the Maratha 
Kunbis that every trace of a separate origin has been completely 
obliterated. 

Marriage. — Thakurs have no endogamous divisions. Their 
exogamous divisions are the same as those of the Maratha Kunbis. A 
man may marry two sisters, but two brothers cannot marry two sisters. 
A maternal uncle's or paternal aunt's daughter may be taken in 
marriage. Outsiders are not admitted into the caste. Girls are 
married in infancy. The custom of offering girls to the temples or 
gods does not prevail. Polygamy is permitted without any limit in 
theory. The marriage ceremony is analogous to that of the Maratha 
Kunbis. After the wedding portion of the ceremony has been com- 
pleted, two tripod stands are placed on the bohola (wedding dais) to 
serve as seats for the married couple, where all the subsequent rites ^re 
performed. The Deoak consists of the twigs of saundad (Prosopis 



54 Bhat 

r 

spicigera), jambul (Eugenia Jambolana) and mango trees, which 'are 

ceremonially brought from the woods and placed behind 
the village god Maruti. The married couple, with the 
ends of their garments tied in a knot, go in procession to the temple, 
repeating all the way the unintelligible word, ' Gharyar,' worship 
the Virs (departed ancestors) and return home carrying the ' twigs 
comprising the Devak, which they place in the marriage canopy with , 
an earthen pot containing food and water. Two posts of salai 
(Boswellia thurijera) wood, representing the bride' and bridefroom, 
are planted close to the mandap, and mangalmatd, in the form of an 
earthen pot, is installed near them. The marriage ceraiiony always 
takes place at night. Thakurs of Amba Jogai state iha'i their Deva^, 
consists of a kind of creeper, which is brought once for all, preserved 
in the house and made use of in subsequent marriages. 
Sur-name DeVak 

Pavar Edge of a sword. 

Chavan Vasani, a creeper grown in' jaWari 

fields. 
Yadava and Jadhava A dish of sandal-wood and moss. 

Each section has its own Deoak, which is either a plant or 
some other object held in great reverence. This usage is said to be 
peculiar to Dravidian and Mongolian tribes and points to the non- 
Aryan origin of the Thakurs. 

Widows are allowed to re-marry and divorce is permitted. The 
ceremony in use at the marriage of a widow resembles that of the 
Maratha Kunbis. 

Inheritance and Religion.— The Hindu law of inheritance is 
followed by the caste. The religion of the caste is of the orthodox 
type. Adi Chandi is tJieir patron deity. All the gods of the Hindu 
pantheon are worshipped and reverence is paid to the souls of departed 
ancestors. Brahmans are engaged as spiritual advisers on all 
religious and ceremonial occasions. 

Disposal of the Dead —The dead are buried and mourning is 
observed for II days. On the .'0th day after death, oblations are 
offered in the name of the deceased. Sradha is performed every year. 

Occupation — Begging is the chief occupation of the caste. 



Bhat 55 

Members of the caste officiate as priests and genealogists to Hatkars, 
Vanjaris and Kunbis. Some of them have now taken to agriculture. 
Social Status — Thakurs rank socially with Maratha Kunbis. 
They eat the flesh of sheep, deer, hare, fowl and drink spirits. 
Pigs are avoided. They eat from the hands of Brahmans and 
Marathas. Marathas eat kflchi from their hands. 
N» Their dress is similar to that of the Marathas. They do not 

wear the sacred thread. A Thakur woman, after child-birth, is impure 
for t»n days and'on the fifth day after birth Satwai * is worshipped. 

* The goddess of pregnant and lying-in women. 



XI 

Bhatraja 

Bhatraja, Bhab Murti, Bhatwandlu— a caste largely to be found 
in the Telugu Districts of H. H. the Nizam's Dominions. Thej? are 
hereditary bards of the Velma and Kapu castes and once had the 
honour, like the Bhats of Northern India, of attending the fourls of the 
Vijayanagar and Warangal kings, whose deeds they charited through- 
out the country. The title of Raja is said to have been given to them 
on this account. They are a very intelligent class of people and have 
produced some of the most eminent poets in Telugu literature. 

Origin The Bhatrajas seem to be a mixed caste, recruited 

from among Brahmans and Velmas. Their legends tend to support 
this view. One of the legends tells how Velma < fugitives 
were given asylum by the Raja Prataprudra of Warangal and raised 
by him to high commands in his army. The Velmas were wifeless, 
and the local Brahmans, who entertained doubts regarding their 
caste, declined to perform any religious ceremonies at their houses. 
Prataprudra, who was appealed to, offered large sums of money, 
which induced some of the Brahmans to undertake the work, but 
these Brahmans were degraded by the rest of their community and 
had to take wives from Kapus and other low classes and became the 
ancestors of the present Bhatraja caste. 

Internal Structure — The caste is divided into two endogamous 
divisions, Vandi Bhats and Are Bhats, the latter being said to be the 
illegitimate progeny of the former ; but the term is generally applied 
to the Marathas, and Are Bhats may be Maratha Bhats who have been 
described in a separate article, and have probably no relation with the 
Bhatrajas, who form the subject of this report. Members of these 
sub-castes do not eat together ncr intermarry. - It is stated by a 
Bhatraja of Adilabad that girls, for whom husbands are not procurable, 
serve as ddsis (hand-maids) in rich Brahman or Komti families and 



Bhatraja 57 

the children, born of such women, are termed ' Krishna Pakshi ' and 
admitted freely into the Bhatraja caste. 

The exogamous system of the caste is of two different types, the 
one consisting of Brahmanical gotras, and the other also of eponymous 
names, the eponym probably being the progenitor of the family. 
Both the types are in vogue at present, but the latter appears to be of 
recent origin and is gradually displacing the Brahmanical gotras. If 
the theory of a Brahmanical origin of Bhatrajas be true, the 
Bwhmanical ^tras were transmitted by the degraded Brahmans to 
their progeny. Section names of both types are given as follows : — 
Gofws — 

Chardwaja Gautama 

Kasyapa Jamdagni 

Vashistha Koundinya 

Atreya Angirasa 

Parashar Shri Vatsa 

Vishwamitra 

Exogamous sections — 

Partigadpa Sarikunda 

Parijat Muchan 

Dharpati Kapalwai 

Janaparaja Jonalgada 

Tarapandi Birolu 

Neelkanthwaru Tangalpalliwaru 

Marriage — Marriage within the section, and outside the sub- 
caste is prohibited. 

A man may marry two sisters, but two brothers cannot marry 
two sisters. Marriage with the daughter of a sister is allowed. A 
man cannot marry any of his first cousins, except the daughter of his 
maternal uncle or paternal aunt. Outsiders are not admitted into the 
caste. 

Bhatraja girls are married either as infants or as adults. It is 
not customary to offer girls to temples or trees. A girl committing 
herself is excommunicated. A second wife is only taken Jn case 
the first wife is barren or incurably diseased. The marriage ceremony 



/ 



58 Bhatraja 

does not differ materially from that in vogue among Komtis. 
Kansddan (the formal gift of the bride to the bridegroom), and Pusti 
Mittalu (the tying of an auspicious bead necklace around the bride's 
neck) form the essential portions of the ceremony. A Brahman is 
consulted in fixing an auspicious date for the wedding. The bride- 
groom, at the time of the Poh, is presented with guntam (an 
iron pan and a Jjook of palm-leaves), which symbolises the hereditary 
occupation of the caste. 

Widows are not allowed to marry again, rtor is divogce 
recognised. An adulterous wife is expelled from the caste. In 
matters of inheritance the caste is guided by the Hirfdu law. 
Failing male issue, females are entitled to inherit. The feldest son 
receives a cow or a bullock as jethdng. 

Religion — The Bhatrajas are almost all Vaishnavas, 
worshipping Vishnu in the form of Venkateshwar, and following the 
guidance of Shri Vaishnava Brahmans in spiritual matters. Every 
member of the caste is required to be invested with the AshtdkShari 
Mantra (eight-syllabled mystic formula) of Vishnu, and marked 
with Mtidrds (sankha — conch and chak'a — wheel) on his arms. 
Females worship the Gouri goddess at the Dioali festival. The 
favourite deity of children is the god Ganesh, who presides over 
Arts and Learning. Members of the caste have a strong belief in 
magic and ghosts ; malignant deities, such as Maisamma and 
Pochamma, are appeased on Sundays by sacrificing fowls. Brahmans 
are employed on ceremonial and religious occasions. 

Disposal of the Dead — The dead are burnt in a lying posture 
with the head towards the south, and the ashes are collected on the 3rd 
day after death and thrown into d river. Burial is resorted to only 
when the family of the deceased is too poor to bear the cremation 
expenses. Mourning is observed 12 days for the married and 3 days 
for the unmarried. On the 3rd day after death, birds are fed, and 
on the llth day libations of til water (tilodal^) and balls of rice 
ipindas) are offered in the names of the dead. The Sradha ceremony 
is performed once every year on the anniversary day. 

Q^ the third day after the birth of a child the Pamd ceremony 
is performed. On the 12th day, the barber pares the nails of the 



Bhatraja 59 



,• 



•mother, on the 21st day she becomes ceremonially pure by bathing and 
performing the Gangd puja, and the child is named. 

Occupation. — The Bhatrajas are beggars by profession, 
reciting the deeds of heroes, and maintaining the genealogy of the 
Kapu and Velma families. Of late, many of them have taken to 
cultivation and hold lands on various tenures. A few have entered 
Government service. Some hold Inam lands (rent free), which are 
mostly grants of an ancient date. 

^ Social Status. — In point of social status the Bhatrajas rank 
below Kapus and Velmas. They eat kfichi from the hands of 
Brahmaijs, Komtis, Ayyawars, Belmas, Jangams, Satanis and 
Gollas. »Kurma, Telaga Dhobi, and Mutrasis eat from their hands. 

■ They eat the flesh of sheep, pig, fowl and fish, and drink spirits. 



/ 



XII 

Bhavsar 

(Titles ' Ji,' ' Rao.' 



«• 



Bhavsar, Bahusar, Bhausagar, Bhavasagari, Wannekar, 
Rangari, Rangrez — the dyer and tailor caste of Maharashtra^' whose 
traditions say that they came originally from Gujaratha neaitly seven 
hundred years ago. Many of them have settled in Telingana, where 
they are known by the popular designation 'Vinnekar ' (a dyer). They 
are generally stout and short, dress like the Maratha Kunbis and 
speak the Marathi language. 

Origin — Bhavsars lay claim to a Kshatriya origin and 
profess to derive their name from ' Bahusar,' Bahu — arm and §ar — 
sprung (lit. moved) meaning " sprung from the arm of Brahma.' 
Regarding their origin, they relate the following legend. When 
Parshuram, in fulfilment of his vow, extirminated the Kshatriya race, 
a few of them escaped the general carnage by taking shelter in the 
shrine of their patron goddess, Ingala Devi. The Devi, to save them 
from destruction, deprived them of their sacred thread and enjoined 
them to betake themselves to their present occupations. Those who 
were furnished with thread and needle became tailors, while others 
were supplied with dyes and became dyers. But neither their 
physical character, nor their traditions, throw any clear 
light on their real antecedents. They were known to the 
ancients as ' Sindolaka ' or the descendants of a Shudra father and 
Bhanda mother. 

Internal Structure — Bhavsdras have two main sub- 
divisions — Bhavsar Rangari and Bhavsar Darji, or Chippalu — which 
are, however, purely functional, for members belonging to them 
intermar^' and eat together. Their exogamous system is obscure and 
complicated. It consists of a double series of sections, a specimen 



^ 



Bhavsar 



61 



• of which is shown below : — 
Brahmanical Cotra 
(1) Bhargava 



Family Surnames 
Gudale, Talkare, Chotwe, Shaivarkare, 

Chitalkare. 
Sutarawe, Tandre, Sotarage, Ruparange. 
Anante, Malve, Meendarker, Rakade, Jirse, 

Male, Gande, Upare, Nage, Nakte, 

Supker, Gambire, Patnekar, Dewatraja. 
Ksheersagar, Tandule, Dhumale. 
Modalker, Yasuker, Jamanker, AIne, 

Dhanker. 
Rangdar, Bhojid, Vadse, Chalke. 
Khemkar, Bhakare, Keenker. 
Navale, Gadekar, Neeipanke. 
Goje, Patangi, Banchode, Alne. 
Basotkar, Habare, Ratnapalke, Chavan. 
Gujari. 
Amburi. 



Kalekar. 

Pabamsi. 

Malalkar. 

Dholekar, Gujar, Pandane. 

Bodke. 

Although it is held that, for the purposes of marriage, the gotra 
series is taken into account, it is not very clear whether the fact of two 
persons belonging to the same family, or bearing the same family name, 
would operate as a bar to their intermarriage, notwithstanding their 
gotras being different. Such a case has not been made out in the 
enquiry, and further information is, therefore, wanted on the point. 
The rule of exogamy is carefully practised, and a man is prohibited 
from marrying a woman of his own section. In matters of prohibited 
degrees, that overlap the rule of exogamy, Bhavsars follow the 
practice in use among the Maratha Kunbis. Polygamy is permitted, 
but there is no rule limiting the number of wives a man mav have. 
Marriagje. — Among Bhavsars, girls are married as infants, and 

V 



(2) 


Gargya 


(3) 


Vasistha. 


• (4) 


Kasyapa 


(5) 


Vyasa 


(6) 


• 
I^andap 


(7) 


Poshati 


(8) 


Kapila 


(9) 


Moreshwar 


(10) 


Bandashi 


(11) 


Gautama 


(12) 


Pandarik 


(13) 


Bharamar 


(14) 


Kamala 


(15) 


Sanalana 


(16) 


Pippala 


(17) 


Markandeya 


(18) 


Durwasa 



62 Bhavsar 

social reproach attaches to a girl's parents if she is not provided with 
a husband before she has reached the age of puberty. The cere- 
mony is of the orthodox type, in practice among the Maratha Kunbis 
and other Maratha castes of the same social standing. After the 
preliminary negotiations have been completed, an auspicious day for 
the marriage is fixed by consulting a Brahman skilled in such 
matters. The ceremony takes place at the bride's house, under a 
booth of nine or eleven posts, the muhurta medha, or wedding 
pillar, being of umbar (Ficus glomerata). To this hallov**t;d 
pillar are fastened an axe, five cakes, and leaves of the five sacred 
trees — the mango, shami (Prosopis spicigera), jamhul ^{Eugenia 
Jambolana), umbar (Ficus glomerata), and pipal (Ficus religiosa) — 
the whole representing Deva Deoaha, or marriage guardian deity. 
The ceremony comprises several usages, which may be described 
as follows : — 

(1) Mangani or Kunku Lavane (the betrothal), in which the 
maiden is presented with a silver coin and sweetmeat and 
has her forehead smeared with kjunkum, or red powder, by the 
Brahman who officiates as priest : this completes the betrothal. The 
guests are offered pan supari, or betel-leaves and areca nuts, after 
which they disperse to their homes. 

(2) The invocation of the village and family deities for their 
blessing upon the betrothed couple. These are (1) Bhavani and (2) 
Ellama, both propitiated with offerings of flesh, (3) Gorakha, (4) 
Mahadeva, (5) Yankoba and (6) Narsinha. The Bhavsars also 
worship the jungle grass, a usage the true significance of which is 
obscure at the present day. 

(3) Haldi Laoane, or the smearing over with turmeric. The 
betrothed pair, in their respective homes, are separately rubbed over 
with turmeric paste and oil. Five married females, whose husbands 
are living, grind, ceremonially, turmeric, with which »he boy is first 
smeared, a portion of this being subsequently conveyed in procession to 
the bride's house and applied to her body. Before the wedding a 
curious Kulachar, or family rite, ist performed by the caste and 
merits -special description. In a large pot filled with water are 
arranged wheaten cakes and leaves of makai, in alternate layers, 



Bhavsar 63 

• which, having been sufficiently boiled, are distributed among the wives 

of the caste Panchas. Each of the matrons receives two cakes and 

gives jawari, or Indian millet, in return. On the wedding day the boy 

is carried in procession to Maruti's temple, where he is formally 

received for the first time by the bride's relatives. He is thence 

conducted by both parlies to the girl's house, where, on arrival, the 

bride's mother waves two cakes round his face and washes his feet 

with water. On alighting from his horse, the bridegroom is taken 

straight to tho wedding platform, built under the wedding booth. 

Here the bride immediately joins hiro and both are made to stand 

face to iace, in bamboo baskets containing ropes used for drawing 

water frcpi wells. The ceremonies that follow, viz., Antarpdt, 

Kank/ma bandhan, Mangalsutra, Kanyddan, Naoagraha Pujd, Homa 

and several others, closely resemble those current among the Maratha 

Kunbis. It should be observed, however, that those Bhavsars who 

have settled in Telingana or the Carnatic follow wedding ribes 

peculiar to the respectable members of their adopted localities. 

A Bhavsar woman, after child-birth, is unclean for ten days. On 
the 5th day after birth, the worship of the goddess Satwai is observed, 
at which the image of the goddess is traced on a grind- 
stone, laid near the mother's cot, and worshipped with the sacrifice 
of a goat. The child, if a male, is named on the 13th, and if a 
female on the 1 2th day after birth. 

Widow=Marriage — The Bhavsars allow a widow to marry 
again, but do not requirejier to marry her late husband's younger or 
elder brother. The ceremony in use at the marriage of a widow consists 
of the tying of the mangalsutra, or auspicious thread, round the bride's 
neck by the bridegroom. A Brahman attends the ceremony and acts 
as priest. Widows may witness the ritual, but married women are 
on no account allowed to be present on the occasion. The wedded 
couple sleep together during the night and early next morning repair 
to Maruti's temple, where they screen themselves from the public 
gaze. At night they return to the bridegroom's house. The pro- 
ceedings terminate with a feast to the caste people. 

Divorce — Divorce is permitted on the ground of the^ wife's 
unchastity, or the husband's inability to maintain her, or if the couple 

\ 



64 Bhavsar 

cannot get on together. It is effected, with the sanction of the casti 
Pancha^at, by depriving the woman of her mangahutra and driving 
her out of the house. The divorce claims alimony from her husband 
if her innocence is proved in the presence of the head-man of the 
caste. Divorced women are allowed to marry again by the same 
rite as widows. 

Religion The religion of the Bhavsars differs little from 

that of other castes of the same social status. Their special deity is 
Ingala or Hingala (a form of Bhavani), worshipped on Fridays 
or Tuesdays, with offerings of sweetmeat. On the eighth or 
ninth of the light half of Aswin (beginning of October), ^^^the grand 
worship of the goddess is held, at which Homa (sacrifice) is per- 
formed, mogara or jasmine flowers (Jasminum Sambac) offered to the 
deity and goats and sheep sacrificed to her. They also pay devotion to 
Khandoba, Balaji, Hanuman, and the greater gods of the Hindu 
pantheon. Parsharam, the incarnation of Vishnu, and the slayer of 
Kshatriyas, is represented by a panja (metallic palm) and is adored 
with the sacrifice of a sheep. In this worship the Brahmans take 
no part, but the head of the household officiates as priest. Animistic 
deities, including Pochamma (Sitala), Mari Amma, Maisamma and 
Ellama, are also propitiated by the members of the caste. They 
have a strong belief in ghosts, charms and witch-craft. 

In Telingana, the Bhavsars are divided into Shivas (Vibhutidharis) 
and Vaishnavas (Tirmanidharis). Some of the Maratha Bhavsars 
are followers of the Manbhao sect and are generally known by the 
name of Bhavals : these have Manbhao mendicants for their Gums. 
On all religious and ceremonial occasions the assistance of Deshastha 
Brahmans is requisitioned by the caste. 

Disposal of the Dead — The dead are burnt, the body being 
laid on the pyre with the head pointing to the south, and the ashes 
are collected on the 3rd day after death and thrown into the Ganges 
or any stream near by. Mourning is observed ten days for agnate 
adults and the ceremony of Sradha is performed on the 12tii day 
after death, when libations of til water (Sesamum indicum) and balls 
of rige or wheat flour are offered for the benefit of the deceased. 
Children, before teething, and persons dying of cholera or smallpox, 



Bhavsar 65 



* 



are buried. Burial is also resorted to in the case of persons who 
become Bhavalus or disciples of Manbhaos. Ancestors, in general, 
are propitiated in the dark half of the month of Bhadrapad 
(September), with offerings of libations of water mixed with til 
(gingelly) seeds. In Telingana, Tirmanidharis are burnt, while 
Vibhutidharis are buried. A goat is sacrificed on the 3rd day after 
.death and the flesh is cooked and placed, with a vessel of shendi 
(juice of the wild date palm), on the spot where the body was 
cremaed or buried. 

Social Status — The social rank of Bhavsars is respectable, 
and Marathft Kunbis are said to eat k.achi from their hands, while 
the members of the caste eat only from the hands of Brahmans. 
They eat fish and the flesh of sheep, fowl, deer, hare and wild boar 
and indulge freely in spirituous and fermented liquors. Leavings of 
other people are not eaten by the caste. 

Occupation — The general occupation of the caste is the dyeing 
of cotton clothes, silks and woollen fabrics and yarns for weaving. 
The colotirs used in dyeing are mostly of vegetable origin and 
are obtained by ingenious combinations of different dyes. Safflower, 
madder, turmeric, indigo, myrabolams and mango leaves furnish 
beautiful tints of scarlet, pink, rose, crimson, purple, yellow, orange 
and green. The garments are dyed in pieces to suit the tastes of 
customers. They are first steeped in the dung of cow-buffaloes, 
washed and then submitted to the process of dyeing. An earthen 
pot or kpndi, two metal vats for the principal dye becks and a cotton 
bag (zoli) for straining the colour comprise the simple apparatus 
employed for the operation. 

Some of the Bhavsars are now engaged as tailors, while a fev/ 
of them have taken to cultivation. 



XIII 
Bhil 

Bhil— a non-Aryan tribe, inhabiting the hilly ranges which form 
the north-western boundary of the Aurangabad Subah. Oil. the 
eastern side they have for their neighbours the Gonds and the Andhs 
and on the western and southern sides they imperceptibly pass into 
the Koli and Wanjari tribes. They are principally found in the 
Talukas of Vaijapur, Kannad, Bhokardan, Aurangabad and 
Gangapur. They probably came to this tract from Khandesh, to 
which part of the country they are said to have been driven, firstly 
by the pressure of the Rajputs, and later on by the Muhammadan 
immigration from Northern India. A considerable portion of the Bhils 
have settled on the plains and taken to cultivation and farm 'labour. 

Physical Characteristics — In point of physical characteristics, 
the Bhils display remarkable variations. Those on the plains 
are well built, of tall stature and generally handsome features, 
their original type having probably been refined, partly by 
intermarriages with the low caste Hindus and partly by the effects 
of the salubrious climate of the plains. The hill Bhil, on the other 
hand, has preserved all the characteristics of a pure Dravidian. He 
is hardy and active, with dark complexion, prominent cheek bones, 
wide nostrils and coarse features. Like his brother, the Gond or the 
Koli, he is noted for his truthfulness and simplicity, love of indepen- 
dence, excessive indulgence in ardent spirits, thriftlessness and detesta- 
tion of honest work. He has his own dialect, which is scarcely 
understood by the inhabitants of the plains. His national weapon is 
a bow made of bamboo, the ' string ' being a thin strip of the same 
flexible material. 

Origin. — The name " Bhil ' t is supposed to be derived from 
theeOravidian ' Billu ' — a bow (Wilson's "Aboriginal Tribes", 2). 
A popular legend represents them as being descended from Nishad, 



, Bhil 67 

« 

son of Mahadev, by a human female. Nishad was vicious and ugly 
and, having killed his father's bull, was, in consequence, banished 
to mountains and forests. 

History. — The Bhils are, indisputably, one of the pre-Aryan 
races. The earliest mention of their name occurs in the great epics 
of the Ramasana and Mahdbkdrata. A Bhil woman is said to have 
tftade presents of bors, or plumes, to Rama, during his wanderings 
through the wilderness of Dandaka. In the AdiparOa of the 
Mahdbhdrata, mention is made of a certain Bhil, who attained extra- 
ordinary skill, in archery by placing before him a clay image of 
Drona, as his preceptor, and thus practising the art. It was a forester 
Bhil who mortally wounded Krishna, having mistaken him for a deer. 

For ages, the Bhils have been known as daring marauders, who 
set at defiance one and all the governments that tried to subdue them 
by coercion. They were cruelly dealt with by the Muhammadan and 
the Maratha governments and were several times severely punished 
by the British. Some of the Moghal Emperors, however, adopted 
a policy of conciliation towards them and treated them kindly. 
Aurangzeb enlisted them in a sort of local militia, by entrusting to 
their charge the whole hill country south of the Narbada. The 
passes of the Satpura and the Ajunta ranges were committed to their 
care, with a liberal grant of land for their services. His armies 
passed unmolested through the Bhil country, which contained difficult 
passes, and during the Moghal rule of the Deccan the Bhils remained 
quiet or loyal. 

With the rise of the Marathas, they appear in history as a 
truculent and lawless tribe, committing great depredations on the 
plains from their mountain fastnesses. Expeditions against the Bhils 
became frequent, but in every instance the soldiers of the Peshwas 
were worsted in action. The Marathas never scored against the wily 
hill tribes, until they resorted to treachery. Peace having been 
concluded, the Bhils were invited to celebrate it by a grand feast at 
a place near Kannad. They responded to the invitation and came 
down to the plains in great numbers, expecting a good time. They 
were treated on a lavish scale and indulged freely in the strong 
liquor which had been liberally provided. Armed bodies of men, 



68 Bhil , 

kept hidden for the purpose, were soon on the helpless Bhils, who 
were then butchered without distinction of age or sex. Large bodies 
of Bhils, however, still remained and they soon took measures of 
reprisal and terrorised the Maratha villages on the plains. The Peshwas 
proscribed them as out-laws and ordered that they should be put to 
death wherever found. A Bhil caught anywhere was flogged to death, 
or hanged by the lowest Maratha official without trial or enquiry of any 
kind. Great ingenuity was displayed in corturiii'g the Bhil^ such 
of them as fell into the hands of the Marathas being sub- 
jected to cruelty of the most revolting kind. The favourite method 
adopted was to slit the nose, strip the ears, and, in the case of females, 
to rip open the breast and sprinkle powoered chillies over the wounds, 
exposing the victim meanwhile to the hottest sun. The operations 
were concluded either by burning the victims at the stake or on heated 
guns. The heights of Antur, twenty miles from Kannad, were 
especially selected and a large number of Bhils were hurled to des- 
truction, every year from the high cliffs that surround the fort of 
that name. This policy of extermination was vigorously pursued as 
long as the rule of the Peshwas lasted. It is astonishing how fre- 
quently the Bhils fell into the snares cast by the Marathas under 
promises of pardon, and how often their simplicity and faith led 
them to destruction. It is on record, that thousands of Bhils, 
assembled in the towns of Kannad, Dharangaon, Chalisgaon and 
Kopargaon under such promises, were annihilated with the greatest 
cruelty. The Bhil country, along with the other territories of the 
Peshwas, was divided between the English and the Nizam in 1818. 
The Districts of Khandesh, Ahmednagar and Nasik, containing a con- 
siderable Bhil population, were annexed to the Bombay Presidency, 
and the Talukas of Kannad, Ambad, Bhokardan and Paithan were 
restored to the Nizam. The officers of the two Governments deputed 
to settle the new districts found the Bhils, who had suffered so cruelly 
at the hands of the Marathas, in a state of exasperation. The Bhil 
question attracted the serious attention of the British Government. 
Their depredations had become so serious that operations were 
directed against them in the Ajanta and Gaotala ranges, where they 
had greatly increased in numbers ; they were at that time under 



, Bhil 69 

thi^y-two leaders. tRe chief of whom, in 1819, was Chil Naik. 
Detachments were sent into the hills and the fort of Baitalwadi and 
other strongholds were captured. Chil Naik was taken and hanged, 
but the Bhils were far from being subdued and two new leaders, 
Jandhulya and Fakirya, fiercely ravaged the plains to avenge the loss 
of Chil Naik. A military cordon was drawn round the base of the 
Ajanta hills for about a hundred miles, and Jandhulya, Fakirya and 
<1,200 of their followers surrendered in 1821. After a few months' 
quiet there was another outbreak in 1822, headed by the famous 
Hirya. The low country was harassed for some time, but as force 
had failed, Jt was determined, in 1825, to try kind measures. The 
Bhils had been promised a living if they would come down to the 
plains, but they refused, and attempts were now made to encourage 
them to enlist and form a Bhil corps. An agency was established 
near Chalisgaon and Major Ovans and Lieut. Graham induced many 
of the Ajunta Bhils to form settlements and engage in agriculture. 
The Bhils were, however, still troublesome and those at Kannad 
recommenced their depredations about 1830. The Gaotala h'l!, 
seven miles north of Kannad, became noted as one of their 
strongholds and a body of the contingent troops was ordered up 
from Aurangabad to hunt them out of the hills and re-open the 
ghat roads. The troops were encamped at Gaotala for six months 
and the hills were scoured. It was about this time that the Outram 
ghat was constructed by the British officer of that name, while 
engaged in conciliating the wild hillmen of the Ajanta and Gaotala 
ranges. A force was afterwards cantoned at Kannad for several 
years and a British officer was stationed there as Bhil agent. The 
troops were withdrawn about 1840 and the Bhil agency was abolished 
a few years later. 

When measures of coercion were found unsuccessful, and it) was 
repugnant to the feelings of the authorities to follow a policy of 
extermination, it was resolved to resort to more humane measures. 
The policy with reference to the Bhils was accordingly reversed and 
the dealings with the tribe became distinctly marked with sympathy 
and kindness. The distinguished 'names of Robertson. Ovans and 
Outram are associated with this policy. Under their personal 



70 Bhil , 

influence, many Bhils settled to a regular life as policemen, crlti- 
vators and field-labourers in the District of Khandesh. The same 
policy of sympathetic treatment of the Bhils was inaugurated in the 
District of Aureingabad and they were granted every facility to 
settle down to more peaceful occupations as cultivators or village 
servants. Accustomed as they were to a life of strife and lawlessness, 
it was not to be expected that they would give up their predatory 
habits so quickly and resist the temptations of crime when pressed b^ 
scarcity and famine. They desisted, however, ffom concerted acts 
of lawlessness as long as measures of repression were directed against 
the criminal portion alone, but, whenever the zeal of tjie authorities 
to maintain the peace assumed the character of a persecution of the 
whole tribe, fresh outbursts of the Bhils took place. Such was the 
case in 1307 F. (1898 A.D.) when an encounter look place at 
Bhamiri between a powerful gang of Bhils and the police. The 
serious attention of Government was once more drawn to the long 
vexing question of the Bhils, and it is satisfactory to record that 
once more the policy of repression was reversed in favour of the 
consideration of the very root of the evil. It was held that their 
spirit of lawlessness was in no small measure due to their great 
poverty, long suffering and want of honest occupation. The measures 
adopted, with this view, by the Revenue and Police authorities, have 
been in the direction of affording immediate relief to the tribe in order 
to distract them from crime. Since 1310 F., some two hundred Bhil 
families have been induced to settle down in the plains as agricul- 
turists and the total number of acres in their possession is now over 
2,556. Taccavi grants, amounting in all to Rs. 9,360, have been 
distributed amongst them, in addition to a grant of Rs. 10,000 from 
charitable funds. Employment has been found for nearly one 
thousand Bhils, as village watchmen, of whom 315 are paid from 
the Police funds ; the Revenue Department maintains another 300 out 
of the village cess and many are employed by private individuals 
in the same capacity. Mr. A. C. Hankin, the Head of the District 
Police, whose distinguished name is intimately connected with every 
measure of amelioration of the Bhils' condition, has paid particular 
aRention to the rising generation. Under police supervision no fewer 



, Bhil 71 

than 215 lads have been sent to elementary schools. Eight new schools 
have also been introduced by the Police Department, four in the 
villages of Wadol, Savergaon, Kinhai and Jowla in the Kannad 
taluka, and the rest in Sondgaon, Basada, Majri and Nevargaon of 
the Vaijapur taluka. The lads attending the school are properly 
clothed and well cared for. This excellent policy is yielding 
the happiest results, for the present Bhil youths have taken admir- 
*ably to schooling and, sobered by instruction, are losing the recollec- 
tion <)f the wild, state of their ancestors. Some of these boys ate 
reported as smart and often superior to other low castes in 
intelligence. 

Internal Structure — The term ' Bhil ' includes, besides 
the Bhils proper, several aboriginal tribes of the) Sahyadri 
and Satpura ranges, such as Khotils, Pavras, Varlis, Mavchis or 
Gavits, Dangchais, Tadvis, Nirdhis, etc. The Bhils proper, or 
the Bhils of the plains, are mostly found in the villages on the plains 
and in their dress, language and customs are scarcely distinguishable 
from the low caste Hindus. They constitute the bulk of the Bhil 
population of the Hyderabad Dominions, other clans being scattered 
only here and there in very small numbers. The Khotils are confined 
to the hills and forests, and barter gums and wax for the produce of the 
plains. They eat carrion and beef and are on this account regarde<l 
by the pure Bhils as degraded. They are great hunters. The Pavras 
are small built men with flat faces and resemble Konkani Kolis more 
than Bhils. They claim to be originally Rajputs, who were driven by 
their chiefs from their homes. They are mostly husbandmen and their 
women are stout and buxom. The Varlis, though found in mountainous 
tracts are, unlike Pavras, tall, dark and well-made, with somewhat 
negrolike features. Their women are usually unclad from the waist 
upwards. The Dangchis, or Dang Bhils, stunted in body and dulled 
in mind, are the most uncivilized of all the Bhil tribes. They eat 
monkeys, rats, all small vermin and even cattle killed by tigers. They 
wander about with bows and arrows in search of such small game as 
peafowl and hare. They hold the tiger sacred. The Tadvis are 
found in the Bhokardan Taluka. They are believed to be the 
descendants of Muhammadan soldiers who, during the reign of the 



72 Bhil r 

Emperor Aurangzeb (1658-1707), contracted ' intimacy with Kiil 
women. They are tall, well built, fairer in complexion and 
more refined in features than the pure Bhils. Their weapons are the 
sword and the matchlock, but seldom the bow. They are very 
vindictive and quarrelsome and dislike hard work. Though Muham- 
madans by faith, they have a deep reverence for certain Hindu deities. 
Their hereditary chiefs are Khan Sahibs and are appealed to in all 
matters of difficulty. The Bhilalas, a mixed Bhil sub-tribe, are stated' 
to be the offspring of Tiloli Kunbis, whom they /esemble in, every 
respect. They celebrate their marriages at sundown. 

Each of the above-mentioned tribes, with the excq^tion of the 
Tadvis, who are Muhammadans, is broken up into a laiige number of 
exogamous groups which show a singular mixture of varied elements. 
Thus the sections, Waghia, Ghania and Pipalasa are totemistic, being 
derived from the names of animals and trees. Other section names 
such as Jadhava, Pawar, Gaikwad, More and Salunke are evidently 
borrowed from the Maratha Kunbis. They also have eponymous 
and territorial sections, the former being the names of their founders 
and the latter the names of favourite places. 

Like other tribes, the Bhils scrupulously observe the rule of 
exogamy, marriage within the section being strictly prohibited. 
Some system of prohibited degrees also exists, although it cannot be 
clearly defined by them. 

Marriage The Bhils marry their daughters both as infants 

and as adults between the ages of five and sixteen, but infant 
marriage is deemed the more respectable and the tendency, at the 
present day, is towards the abolition of adult marriage. Girls are 
sometimes dedicated to temples or offered to deities and in such 
circumstances receive the name of 'murlyas'. The customary price, 
ghun or deja, paid for a Bhil bride, is Rs. 20, but the amount is 
liable to vary according to the means of the bridegroom's parents. 
Polygamy is allowed, and the Bhils impose no limit on the number 
of wives a man may have. 

The proposal for marriage comes from the boy's relations and 
the marriage may take place after betrothal, but it depends on the 
pecuniary circumstances of the parents and may be postponed for 



Bhil 73 

• years. The marriage is arranged in the presence of the caste 
Panchasat. A Brahman is consulted to fix the betrothal day, 
the boy and his relations proceed to the girl's house, give presents to 
her and are entertained in the evening. After the marriage is de- 
cided on, the bride-price is paid to the girl's father and a feast is 
given. The betrothal is witnessed by the caste council, and the 
party leave next morning. The Bhat or family priest is next con- 
sulted to fix the wedding day ; when this has been settled, the 
h^ldi ceremooy is performed, booths are erected and a platform 
is raised at the girl's house. On the wedding day the boy goes in 
procession to Hanuman's temple, wearing on his head a paper 
ornament, called bashmgam and his sister follows him with a pot of 
water containing a few copper coins. After worshipping the deity, 
the party drink the water that has been brought by the boy's sister. 
Intimation of the boy's arrival at the temple is then sent to the 
girl's house ; at sunset they all proceed to the bride's house and 
are received by a number of women each holding a pot of water 
into which some copper coins are dropped, while one of the women 
waves a lighted lamp in front of the bridegroom and receives a 
present of cloth. The bridegroom stands facing the east, a curtain 
is put up concealing the bride and a thread is twined round the pair. 
The officiating Brahman repeats some verses, grain is thrown, 
and, at the auspicious moment, when the priest claps his hands, the 
thread is severed, the curtain is withdrawn and the bridal pair throw 
portions of the broken thread and garlands on each other. Congra- 
tulations are received; pan, supari, haldi and kpnku are dis- 
tributed ; yellow strings and turmeric are tied to the wrists of the 
bride and the bridegroom, and a feast is given to the caste. On the 
next day the couple are bathed, the boy's mother and other 
relatives come in procession to the bride's house, give her presents 
and are entertained at two dinners. Two or three days after the 
wedding, the bride's relations go in procession to the house of the 
bridegroom's father, presents are exchanged and a dinner is given. 
With this the festivities terminate, the yellow threads on the wrists 
and necks of the bride and the bridegroom are removed and all traces 
of haldi are washed away. 



74 Bhil 

Widows are allowed to marry again, and a man takes to him-'' 
self three or four such wives in addition to the one whom he has 
manied as a virgin. The widow bride is presented with certain 
clothes, and a bead necklace which the bridegroom ties round her neck. 
The ceremony ends with a feast to friends and relatives. Some 
of the Bhil classes allow a widow to marry the younger brother of 
her late husband, but the custom is not universal. Divorce is recog- 
nised, divorced women being allowed to marry again by the same 
rite as widows. r c 

The Bhils admit into their caste men of the Kunbi, Mali, Kum- 
bhar and other castes ranking higher than their own. 

Child^Birth. — The child is named as soon after,, birth as 
possible. On the 5th day after birth the mother and the child are 
bathed, turmeric lines are drawn upon a raised platform built out- 
side the house and a lighted lamp is placed in the centre of five 
quartz pebbles. Pieces of cocoanut kernel are arranged round the 
pebbles and the whole is worshipped by the mother, after being 
sprinkled with haldi, jawari, pinjar, or red powder, and liquor. 
In the evening a feast is given to the caste. On the twelfth day, the 
mother worships Jaldevata or Satwai and another feast is given. 

Religion — The religion of the Bhils is a mixture of animism 
and debased Hinduism. They worship Mahadeva and his consort 
Bhavani, as symbols of terror, and hold, as sacred to them, certain 
groves and parts of forests, in which they offer sacrifices. Local deities, 
including Bhairoba, Khandoba, Hanuman, Ai Mata and Sitala, are 
propitiated with a variety of offerings. The tiger god Wagh Deva 
has no image, and is worshipped in the headman's house at the 
beginning of the rainy season. The Bhils have no shrines, but raise 
a platform, round some old tree, on which their deities, represented 
by maunds of mud with stones fixed in the middle, receive the devo- 
tion of their votaries. They make pilgrimages to Nasik and other 
holy places, but their chief place of pilgrimage is Hanmant Naik's 
Wadi, a few miles south of Sangamnair, on the way to Poona. 
They reverence the horse and the dog and offer mud horses to 
Muhammadan sainLs and Khandoba. Their chief festivals are 
Holi,'°Dassera and Divali, of which the first is the occasion of much 



Bhil 75 

drunkenness and* excesses, while at the second they make sacrifices 
to the goddess Durga. At all festivals the men perform various 
dances. At one of them, the drummers stand in the centre and the 
dancers revolve in a circle, with sticks in their hands, which they strike 
alternately against the sticks held by those in front and behind them. 
In another, men and women join hands and bend backwards and 
forwards, wheeling round and keeping time to the music. They sing 
or play on a type of violin called chikflri, or pai, have a kind of 
mstrument made out of a hollow bottle gourd with a reed inserted at 
one end, and use the dkol, or drum, Jafra, or tambourine and Im, 
or kettle drum. 

Th'e Bhils believe in ghosts and departed spirits. They are 
also firm believers in witchcraft and employ Bards, or witch-finders, to 
point out the witches. The Baras are either Brahmans, or other 
Hindus such as Dhobis, Barbers, etc., and are employed as doctors, 
but diseases beyond their skill are attributed to the influence of 
witches. When the Bhils meditate plunder they consult the Baras 
before taking any action. The Bhils of the plains employ Brahmans 
for religious and ceremonial purposes. 

Funerals The Bhils usually bury their dead, but, if 

means permit, burn them with the head pointing to the south and the 
arms stretched along either side. The funeral obsequies commence 
with the usual distribution of alms ; after this the body is taken out- 
side, washed and dressed in new clothes and a turban placed on 
the head, the face being left exposed. In this condition the corpse is 
laid on the bier, some cooked food is placed by its side and the 
whole is sprinkled with gulal. At the burial ground the corpse is 
laid in the grave with some food in its mouth : the body 
is then sprinkled over with water and finally covered with earth by all 
the mourners present. The party then bathe in the nearest river or 
tank, and, on returning to the house of the deceased, the bearers are 
fumigated with nim leaves thrown into a fire and liquor is served 
out. On the third day after death some further ceremonies are per- 
formed for the bearers and they receive a dinner. On the 1 0th 
day the chief mourner shav*s his head and offers cakes to the 
departed spirit. On the 12th day a Kumbhar is called and a seven- 



76 Bhil 

step ladder is set against the wall of the house so thJit the soul of the i, 
departed may climb to heaven. The priest chants mystic verses on 
this occasion and a grand funeral feast brings the rites to a close. 
The wild Bhils bury their dead without form or ceremony and 
worship the spirits of their ancestors by raising a rude pile of stones 
which, on festive occasions, they smear with red lead and oil. 

Social Status Being still outside the Hindu caste organisation, 

the social status of the Bhils cannot be precisely defined. The Bhils 
of the plains eat fowl, hare, deer, fish, tortoises, pigs and lizards and 
indulge in liquors. They, however, abstam from beef. The wild 
Bhils have no scruples in this respect and eat carrion and cows. 

Occupation — Originally a predatory race, the Bhiis have 
been greatly improved in recent years by kind and conciliatory treat- 
ment and have taken largely to cultivation as a means of subsistence. 
They raise coarse grain and a few vegetables, such as gourds, &c., 
which, with meat from the chase, or fish from the neighbouring stream, 
are rudely dressed for food. They collect and sell fire-wood, 
honey, gums, jungle fruits, and mahua flowers (Bassia latijolia), and 
also serve as watchmen of villages, besides being frequently employed 
as day and farm labourers. All cases of social disputes and quarrels 
amongst Bhils are settled by a caste council or Pancha^at headed 
by a nai\, under whom there is a deputy called pradhan. The naik's 
authority generally extends over ten or twelve villages or pals. 



» 



XIV 
Bhoi 

Bhoi — a generic term used as the designation of various classes 
ivho are engaged in boating, fishing, palanquin bearing and as domes- 
tic servants. In the Hyderabad Territory it includes several castes, 
such a* the Bestas and Gunlodus of Telingana, the Machinde and 
Maratha, Bhois of Marathawada, the Bhanare and Bendor of the 
Adilabad District, the Gangamasalu of the Carnatic and the Kahars, 
who are immigrants from Northern India. 

The etym.ology of the word 'Bhoi' is uncertain. It is supposed 
to be a Telugu word, derived from ' Boya,' the name of an aboriginal 
tribe ; but the derivation appears to be fictitious and has probably been 
suggested by the similarity of the names 'Boya' and 'Bhoi.' No 
traditions are current regarding the origin of these people. The 
Hindu legislators distinguish the Bhoi (pattstika or bearers) from 
the Dhivar Kolis (kaivartaka or fishermen), the former being the 
offspring of a Brahman father and a Nishad mother, while the latter 
are descended from a Parasava father and an Ayogava mother. At 
the present day, however, the name ' Bhoi ' is used to denote all 
classes v/ho follow either profession. 

The Bhoi castes enumerated above differ widely from one an- 
other in physical character and habits. The Telugu Bhois comprise 
two sub-castes, Besta and Gunlodu, who eat together but do not 
intermarry. They appear to have originally sprung from the same 
common stock, but have subsequently become broken up into endo- 
gamous divisions by reason of their long occupation of different tracts 
of land. 

XIV-A 

Bhoi — Bestas 

Origin The Bestas, also called Parkitiwaru, are "mostly 

to be found in the Telugu Districts adjoining the Madras Pr^si- 



78 Bhoi 

(I 

dency. The origin of their name is obscure. Some derive it from 
the Persian "Behishti," but this derivation seems to be 
fanciful. The Bestas claim to be descended from Suti, the 
great expounder of the Mahabharata. Another legend traces their des- 
cent to Santan, the father of Bhisma by Ganga. These traditions, 
of course, throw no light upon the origin of the sub-caste. Their 
physical characteristics tend to mark them as Dravidians. 

Marriage — The Bestas profess to belong to, one gotra, 
Achantra^a, which is obviously inoperative in the regulation of their 
matrimonial alliances. Their marriages are governed by a system of 
exogamy consisting of family names. The following are some of 
the typical surnames of the caste : — 

(1) Kattewadu (stick). (8) Nasuwadu. 

(2) Mamliwada (mango). (9) Shebelawadu. 

(3) Gantawadu (bell). (10) Badawadu. 

(4) Gundodu (ball). (11) Allewadu. 

(5) Pusawadu (beads). (12) GurebomoUu. 

(6) Chintawadu (tamarind). (13) Pamparollu. 

(7) Duntiwadu (pile). (14) Vemolollu. 

The exogamous sections are modelled on those of the other 
Telugu castes. The Bestas forbid a man to marry a woman of his 
own section. No other section is a bar to marriage, provided he does 
not marry his aunt, his niece, or any of his first cousins except the 
daughter of his maternal uncle. A man may marry two sisters, or 
two brothers may many two sisters, the elder marrying the elder 
sister and the younger marrying the younger. Outsiders are not 
admitted into the caste. Besta girls are married before they have 
attamed the age of puberty ; but sometimes, owing to the poverty of 
her parents, a girl's marriage is delayed till after the age of puberty. 
Girls are not devoted to temples, or married to deities. Should a 
girl become pregnant before marriage, her fault is condoned by her 
marriage with her lover, a fine being imposed upon her parents by the 
caste Panchasat. Sexual indiscretion with an outsider is punished 
by expulsion from the caste. Conjugal relations commence even 
before rfie girl attains puberty, provided a special ceremony is per- 
formed on the occasion. A Besta girl on attaining puberty is 



' Bhoi 79 

* 

ceremonially unclean for five days. Polygamy is recognised theore- 
tically to any limit, but is practically confined to two wives. 

The marriage ceremony is of the orthodox type and closely 
corresponds to that in vogue among other Telugu castes of the same 
social standing. It takes place at the girl's house, under a booth 
made of eleven posts. The central post, muhurta medha, consists of 
a gukr branch (Ficus indicus) and is topped with a lamp which remains 
burning throughout the ceremony. The marriage procession is made 
on horseback. " A Brahman is employed as priest to conduct the 
wedding service. Kan^dddn, or the formal gift of the bride, by her 
parents, to the bridegroom, is deemed to be the essential portion of the 
ceremony. " In the f^laghali, which is celebrated on the fourth day 
after the wedding, the bridegroom, with a net in his hand, and the 
bride, with a bamboo basket, walk five times, round the polu. The 
panpu which follows is very interesting as, therein, the young couple 
are made to enact a pantomimic drama of married life. The 
final ceremonial is Wadihiyam, by which the bride is sent to her 
husband's house. The bride-price, varying in amount from Rs. 9 to 
Rs. 12, is paid to the girl's parents. 

Widow=Marriage & Divorce — Widow marriage (Mar-mamu) 
is in vogue. The widow is not restricted in her choice of a second 
husband, save that she is not allowed to marry her late husband's 
younger or elder brother, nor any one who belongs to her husband's 
or her father's section. The sons of a widow are admitted to all 
the privileges enjoyed by the sons of a virgin wife. The ceremony 
is performed on a dark night, the widow bride being previously 
presented with a sari and choli and a sum of Rs. I '/4 for the purchase 
of bangles. A woman may be divorced on the ground of unchastity, 
the divorce being effected by the expulsion of the woman from the 
house, a little salt having been previously tied in her apron and the 
end of her garment having been removed from off her head. A 
divorced woman is allowed to marry again by the same rite as a 
widow, on condition, however, that her second husband refunds to 
her first husband, half the exper^jes of her marriage as a spinster. 

Inheritance — The Bestas follow the'Hindu law of inheritcjice. 
A sister's son, if made a son-in-law, is entitled to inherit his father- 



( 



80 Bhoi 

in-law's property, provided the latter dies without issue and the former 
performs his funeral obsequies. It is said that the eldest son gets an 
extra share, or jethanga, consisting of one bullock and Rs. 25. 

Religion. — ^The religion of the Bestas is a mixture of animism 
and orthodox Hinduism. They are divided, like other lower Telugu 
castes, between Vibhutidharis or Saivas, who follow the tenets of 
Aradhi Brahmans, and Tirraanidharis or Vaishanavas, who acknow- 
ledge Ayyawars as their gurus. 

Their tutelary deity is Vyankatram, worshipped every Saturday 
with offerings of sweetmeats and flowers, but the favourite and charac- 
teristic deity of the Bestas is Ganga, or the river goddess, v^orshipped 
by the whole caste, men, women and children, in the month of 
Ashada (July- August), when the rivers and streams are fldSffed. 
The puja is done on the evening of the Thursday or Monday sub- 
sequent to the bursting of the monsoons. The elders of the caste 
officiate as priests. They observe a fast during the day, and at 
about five in the evening resort to a place on the bank of a 
river at some distance from the village. A piece of gr'ound is 
smeared over with cow-dung and four, devices representing, 
respectively, a crocodile, a fish, a tortoise and a female figure of 
Mari Mata (the goddess presiding over cholera), are drawn upon the 
ground over which sand has previously been strewn. These devices 
are profusedly covered with flowers, \unkvm, turmeric powder and 
powdered limestone. In front of the figure of Mari Mata is placed 
a large bamboo tray, containing a square pan made of wheaten flour 
and a turmeric effigy of Gouramma. The flour pan is 
filled with six pounds of ghi, in which are lighted five lamps, one 
in the centre and one at each of the four corners. In front of Gour- 
amma, and in the pan, are placed six bangles, a piece of cocoanut, a 
bodice, four annas, some areca nuts, betel-leaves, catechu and chunam. 
The bamboo tray is then rested on a wooden frame made of four 
pieces of pmgra wood (Er^ihrim indica), each two feet in length, 
and furnished with handles of split bamboo. After the worship is 
over, the priests, and as rnany of tKe male members as are able to 
touch the bamboo tray, lift it with the wooden frame and carry the 
.whole into the flooded river, plungmg into the water sometimes neck 



, Bhoi 81 

deep. After shendi (the fermented juice of the wild date palm) 
has been sprinkled on all sides, the bamboo tray is thrown into the 
flood to be floated away by the current. After the distribution of 
Prasad the multitude disperse. Women are not allowed to touch the 
goddess. At the Dassera festival the Bestas worship their nets, 
which they always regard with extreme reverence. When epidemics 

"pf cholera and smallpox break out, the Bestas make animal offerings 
to t^e Mari M4ta or Pochamma. Brahmans are employed for the 
worship of the great gods of the Hindu pantheon. 

Disposal of the Dead — The Bestas bum their dead, with the 
head pointma to the south, but persons dying before marriage are 
buried. Women dying during childbirth are burned. The ashes 
are collected on the third day after cremation and thrown into the 
nearest stream. Married agnates are mourned for eleven days : the 
unmarried for five days only. Relations are fed on the 11th day 
after death. On the Mahala])a day, rice, ghi and some money are 
offered to a Brahman in the name of the deceased ancestor. 
Ayyawars, in the event of the deceased being a Tirmani- 
dhari, and Jangams, should he be a Vibhutidhari, attend 
the funeral ceremonies. 

Social Status — Socially, the Bestas rank above the Dhobi, 
Hajam, Waddar, Yerkala and lower unclean classes. Their 
social status is equal to that of the Mutrasis. They do not eat food 
cooked by a Jingar or a Panchadayi but will do so from the hands of 
the Mutrasi, Golla, Kapu Kurma and other castes of equal social 

B standing. As far as their diet is concerned, they eat fowl, fish, 
mutton and the flesh of the crocodile, tortoise and lizard, but abstain 
from pork. They indulge freelj- in fermented and distilled liquors. 
They do not eat the leavings of other castes. 

Occupation — The, original occupation of the caste is fishing and 
palanquin bearing, but many of the members are engaged as domestic 
servants in Muhammadan and Hindu houses. A curious custom that 
prevails among them is that, when employed as palanquin bearers, they 
have their food cooked in one pfitce, sharing equally the expenditure 
incurred thereon : at the time of meals the cooked food must be divided 
into exactly equal portions among the members, no matter what, 
6 



82 Bhoi f 

their ages may be. Some of the Bestas have of late years taken to 
cultivation as 2 means of livelihood. 



XIV-B 
Bhoi — Gunlodu 

The Gunlodu, also called Nilbandhu, or the dwellers on the 
river bank, are mostly found in parts of the country where great 
rivers abound. Thus, they are found in the Nizamabad, Adilabad 
and Karimnagar Districts. They eat with the Bestas but do not 
intermarry with them. Their exogamous sections are as* follows : — 
(I) 

(2) 

(3) 

(4) 

(5) 

(6) 

(7) 

Origin — The Nilbandhus give a singular account of their origin. 
The story runs thus : — There was one Narumani, who had a son by 
his mistress. Immediately on his birth the boy was exposed, by 
his mother, on the seashore and when full grown was disowned 
by his father, but commanded to subsist by fishing in the 
sea : since his profession bound him to the sea-shore, his descendants 
have been designated ' Nil-bandhus ' (nee/, water, and bhandu, bank), 
or those who live on river banks. The legend suggests that the 
Nilbandhus may be illegitimate descendants of the Bestas, the great 
Telugu fishing caste. Their customs and usages are the same as 
those of the Bestas and need no separate description. 



Maikalwaru 


(8) 


Chatarivaru 


Tokalawaru 


(9) 


Budhawaru 


Kondalawaru 


(10) 


Shavalawaru 


Palikandawaru 


(11) 


Raghupatiwaru 


Sitaralawaru 


(12) 


Dawalhawaru 


Gamalawaru 


(13) 


Padigallawaru 


Tupurwaru 


(14) 


Kalampalliwaru 



XIV-C 

Maratha Bhois 

Origin — The Maratha Bhois, as their name denotes, constitute 

the numerous members of the fishing* caste of the Marathawada country, 

wliich includes all the Districts of the Aurangabad Subah and the 

Bidar and Usmanabad Districts of the Gulbarga Subah. In physical 



• Bhoi 83 

features and customs they differ markedly from the Telugu Bhois. 
They are divided into two endogamous groups — the Maratha proper 
and the Machinde — who eat together but do not intermarry. The 
Mciratha proper may be an off-shoot from the Maratha Kunbis, whom 
they closely resemble and from whom they are probably separated by 
having taken to the degraded occupation of fishing and litter bearing. 
Tiie Machinde Bhois claim to be descended from Machindranath, the 
chief disciple of Gorakhnath, the famous founder of the sect of Kan- 
phate Jogis. This, however, gives no clue to the real origin of the 
sub-caste. • 

Internal , Structure — The Maratha Bhois have a number of 
exogamous sections, consisting of family surnames, many of which 
are common to this caste and the Maratha Kunbis. The following 
are some of the commonest of them : — 

(1) Adane 

(2) Lonare 

(3) Tamkhane 

(4) Landage 

(5) Nemade 

(6) Khandgale 

(7) Dake 

(8) Wankhile 

(9) Hirawe 

(10) Jirange 

(11) Kesapure 

( 1 2) Jamdade 

Marriage — Marriages within the surname are prohibited. A 
man cannot marry the daughter of his maternal aunt or of his sister, 
though he may marry that of his iraternal uncle. He rarely marries 
his paternal aunt's daughter, although such marriages are not pro- 
hibited by any tribal usage. Two sisters may be married to the same 
husband, or to two brothers, projjided the elder sister is married 
to the elder brother and the younger sister to the younger. 

The Maratha Bhois marry their daughters Doth as infants, and 
as adults between the ages of' eight and twenty, and their sons 



(13) 


Kajale 


\14) 


Pabale 


(15) 


Bhujange 


(16) 


Kambale 


(17) 


Surdushe 


(18) 


Satode 


(19) 


Bavne 


(20 


Gavande 


(21) 


Bhadaskal 


(22) 


Ghone 


(23) 


Ghatmal 



84 Bhoi 



* 



between twelve and twenty-five. Sexual intercourse before marriage 
is tolerated, but a girl taken in adultery is punished with a small fine. 
If she becomes pregnant before marriage her paramour is called upon 
to marry her, but in case he declines, she loses caste. Polygamy is 
permitted. In theory, there is no limit to the number of wives a man 
may have and it is not uncommon to find a man having more than 
one wife. ^ 

The father of the boy, as a rule, takes the initiative towards the 
settlement of a marriage. At the betrothal, or \^nhu laoane, the 
girl is presented with a sari and the caste panch receiye, by right, 
Rs. 2 from the boy's father for k^usali or drinking.^ The DeOak, 
or marriage deity, is represented by twigs of the mango, saundad 
{Prosopis spicigera) and apta (Bauhinia racemosa), which are tied, 
with an axe and a wooden pestle, to the milk post 
(muhurta medha) of the marriage booth. Previous to the 
marriage, Virs (ancestral spirits) and the goddess Bhavani of Tulja- 
pur are propitiated by the sacrifice of a goat. The marriage procession 
is usually made on horseback, but occasionally on a bullock. Pam- 
grahana, or the gift of the bride to the bridegroom, forms the essen- 
tial portion of the ceremony. In other respects it resembles that of 
the Maratha caste. A widow may marry again. Divorce is per- 
mitted on the ground of the wife's adultery, or if the couple cannot 
live in harmony. 

Religion. — Ancestral worship is in full force and the souls of 
the departed are propitiated every Saturday by the elderly member of 
the family ; the souls of adults are called Virs, those of children 
Munjas and of females Manvi. On the wedding day goats 
are sacrificed in honour of these spirits. The members of the caste 
are very scrupulous in the worship of these spirits, for it is firmly 
believed that if they neglect this worship they will never live in 
peace and happiness. Muhammadan pirs are also duly honoured 
with animal sacrifices. Brahmans are employed for religious and 
ceremonial purposes. The dead are burned, but occasionally buried. 
Mourning is observed for 9 days, and on the 10th day Sradha is 
performed and the caste people are feasted. Sradha is 
also celebrated on the Pitra Amawas\)a day and on the 
A\shatriti\)a day. 



Bhoi 85 

, « XIV-D 

Machinde Bhois 

General Description — The Machinde Bhois are mostly fisher- 
men, but are also engaged as palanquin bearers and domestic servants. 
The females soak and parch grain. The members of the caste use 
donkeys for carrying burdens and are hence looked down upon by 
the Telugu Bhois. The Maratha and Machinde B^ois occupy the 
saVie social rank among the Maratha castes as the Telugu Bhois do 
among the Telugu caste. They eat the flesh of fowl and sheep and 
drink spirituous and fermented liquors, but abstain from beef and pork. 

Manne'ss and Customs — In the Adilabad District, especially in 
the Talukas cff Jangaon, Rajura and Shirpur, Marathi-speaking Bhois 
are found, but these are entirely distinct in their manners and customs 
from the Maratha Bhois of the Marathawada Districts. It appears 
that the former are the descendants of those Bhois who came with the 
Maratha conquerors, settled with them in the Berar and Nagpur 
provinces and subsequently emigrated to the neighbouring territory in 
H. H. tfjpe Nizam's Dominions. They are divided into two sub- 
castes, Bendore and Bhanare, who are said to eat with each other but 
not intermarry. These are broken into exogamous sections, which 
consist of family names resembling those of the local Maratha Kunbis. 
A man cannot marry a woman of his own section. He may marry the 
daughter of his mother's brother or his father's sister and two sisters 
may marry the same man, provided the elder is married first. Both 
infant and adult marriages are practised by the caste. Sexual inter- 
course before marriage is tolerated, but punished with a small fine. 
If, however, the girl becomes pregnant before marriage, she is 
required to disclose the name of her seducer, who is compelled to 
marry her by the caste council. Polygamy is allowed. 

Marriage. — The marriage ceremony takes place towards sun- 
down, at the bridegroom's house, to which the girl is escorted in 
procession on horseback by her people. Under the marriage booth 
is a circular platform built of earth with a post of salai 
(Bostcellia thmijera) planted ^jn the centre. This central 
post is surrounded by earthen vessels, and the bride- 



86 Bhoi 

groom facing the east and the bride facing ,the west, with the 
post in their middle, are wedded by a Brahman priest. A man of 
the washerman caste provides threads for marriage bracelets, which 
are tied by the bridal pair on each other's wrists. On the third 
day, the bridegroom dressed in the bride's clothes and the bride 
in the bridegroom's are paraded in procession, after which they are 
mounted on the backs of their respective maternal uncles, who dance 
to the accompaniment of drums and go five times round the earthen 
platform. The ' bride-price ' to the amount of Rs. 5, is paid to tKe 
girl's father. Re-marriage of widows is permitte'd and celebrated 
on a dark night of any month. Women are divorced and are 
subsequentlj allowed to marry again by the same rite ^s widows. 

Religion and Funerals — Khudbhan, the favouri*; deity of the 
caste, is worshipped every day. The other deities honoured are the 
god Mahadeva of the Hindu pantheon and the animistic deity 
Pochamma, who presides over smallpox. The spirits of ancestors 
are also propitiated. The dead are either burnt or buried. When 
a person is on the point of death, ambil, or gruel, is poured into his 
mouth. Mourning is observed for 5 days. No Sradha ceremony is 
celebrated, but an image of the deceased is embossed on a meta[ 
plate and installed in the god's room. 

Social Status and Occupation — Their social position may be 
determined by the fact that they will eat from the hands of the Kunbis, 
Malis, Dhangars and Kumbhars, while the Kunbis will accept 
water only, but nothing else, from a member of the caste. The 
members of the caste eat the flesh of goats, sheep, fowls, hares, deer, 
scaly and scaleless fish and great lizards and drink spirits. Their 
hereditary occupation is fishing, palanquin bearing and working as 
domestic servants. Some of them have taken to cultivation. They 
have a caste Panchayat to which social disputes are referred. 

Distribution — The following statement shows the number and 
distribution of the Bhois in 1911 : — 
District 
Hyderabad City 

Atrali Balda 

Warangal ... 



Males 


Females 


4,041 


3,524 


1.460 


1,443 


5,054 


4,812 



Bhoi 



87 



District • 
Karimnagar 
Adilabad . . . 
Medak 
Nizamabad 
Mahbubnagar 
Nalgonda . . . 
Aurangabad 
Bhir 
Nander 
Parbhani 
Gulbargah 
UsmaiAbad 
Raichur 
Bidar 



Males 


Females 


11,318 


11,456 


8.130 


8,056 


2,892 


2,817 


11,740 


11,670 


15,383 


15,203 


2,786 


2,724 


1,080 


1,059 


1,045 


1,061 


5,164 


5,135 


1,526 


1,508 


906 


717 


347 


303 


16,003 


15,725 


494 


422 



s 



XV 

Bhute 

Bhute, Bhope, Aradhi— a caste of religious mendicants, founded 
on tfie worsfiip of the goddess Bhavani of Tuljapur, in ^.the 
Usmanabad District, and originally recruited from among the 
Marathas. The etymology of the name ' Bhute ' is uncertain. The 
word ' Bhut ' means a ghost in Marathi and is popularlj- given to 
these people as their designation, probably on account of the weird 
appearance they present to beholders while on their begging missions. 
They wear a long, oily, sombre gown, put on necklaces of cowrie 
shells hanging to their knees with silver or brass pendants marked 
with the image of the goddess Bhavani, and hold a lighted torch 
of rags (f>6t) in their hands. When dancing, they wave themselves 
to and fro and from side to side, touching, at the same time, their 
bodies with flames from the burning torch, and making a din with 
the cries of ' Udeh, Udeh ' (victory to the goddess) and with the 
sounds of their sambals (half drums), tals (cymbals) and 
tuntune (one stringed fiddle). The word ' Bhope ' is supposed 
to be derived from ' Bhup,' a king, and is the designation of those 
Bhutes who are actually engaged in the worship of the goddess : 
they say that ihey are so called because, like kings, they are allowed 
to use torchlight by day. 

Origin — Very little is known regarding the origin of the caste, 
but the fact that a Kadam family of Marathas are the hereditary priests 
of the goddess and hold the entire village of Tuljapur in Inam, may 
suggest the conclusion that the original founder of this religious order 
was a Maratha of the Kadam clan. At the present day, the family 
has developed into fifty branches. These priests help the pilgrims 
who visit the temple of Bhavani, by arranging for their lodgings and 
food, and claim the offerings made tp, the goddess by her devotees. 
Customs — Bhutes admit into their caste only members from the 



Bhute 89 

* 

Maratha and Biehman communities. When a Brahman or a 
• 

Maratha has no issue, or if his children are short lived, he makes a 
vow that if he begets two children he will offer one to the goddess 
Bhavani and make him a Bhutya. This child, when grown up, is 
taken to Tuljapur, where the head Bhute, or Patil Kadam, obtains the 
consent of the goddess to make him a Bhutya, worships her and puts 
the string of cowrie shells, worn by himself, round the neck of 
the newcomer. He then admits him into his caste and makes the 
*fact known to the whole Bhute community. If the neophyte is poor, 
he wears the badge of the goddess and begs in her name. 

Internal Structure.— Bhutes have no endogamous divisions : 
their exogemous sections are the same as those of the Marathas. 
Marriage bStween persons belonging to the same section is forbidden. 
Polygamy is permitted and, in theory, there is no limit to the number 
of wives a man may have. 

Marriage. — Girls are usually married before they reach the 
age of puberty. But the age at which a girl is married depends 
mainly upon the ability of her parents to defray the expenses of her 
wedding, and no social penalty is inflicted upon a man who allows 
his daughter to grow up unmarried. The marriage ceremony is of 
the standard type common among the Marathas. The Devak 
(marriage guardian) consists of a lotus flower. A mandap 
(wedding booth) is erected at the bride's house and the bridal couple 
stand under it facing each other. The officiating priest, who is a 
Brahman, holds a curtain (antarpat) between them and recites 
mantras or sacred hymns, while the assembled persons throw coloured 
rice over the heads of the couple. This is deemed to be the valid 
and binding portion of the ceremony. 

Widows are not allowed to marry again, but divorce is permitted, 
with the sanction of the caste Pancha^at, on the ground of the wife's 
adultery. 

Religion The religion of the Bhutes is simply the average 

Hinduism of the middle classes, and calls for no special remark. 
Their special deity is Bhavani, to whom puja (worship) is offered ; 
some worship daily, and others ^jily on festive or religious occasions. 
Brahraans are employed for religious and ceremonial purposes. 



90 Bhute 

I 

Among their greater gods are Shiva, Vishnu and Ganpati, while theiij 

minor gods include the cholera goddess Mari Ai and the goddess 

Sitala, who presides over smallpox. Women worship the tnlsi 

(Ocimum sanctum) plant and the umbar {Ficus glomerata) and pipal 

(Ficus religiosa) trees. 

Disposal of the Dead — The dead, if males, are buried 
in a sitting posture, with the face pointing to the east, and a mound 
of earth is built over their remains. The bodies of women are burnt 
in a lying posture. Sradha and other funeral ceremonies resen^bje 
those in use among the Maratha Kunbis. 

Social Status. — Socially, the Bhutes rank with the Marathas and 
other castes of the same social standing. They are fjperior to 
the Gondhalis, who also recite religious songs and wear strings of 
cowrie shells. 

Occupation. — The characteristic occupation of the caste is 
begging. They leave their headquarters at Tuljapur in the month 
of Margashirsha (November-December) and wander all over the 
Deccan, going from village to village and from door to door, with a 
lighted torch in their hands, playing on samel (druffis), tdls 
(metal cymbals) and tuntune (a one stringed fiddle). They smear their 
foreheads with pinjar (red aniline powder), cover themselves with 
cowrie shells from head to foot and have a square breastplate (/aQ 
hung from their neck. While begging, they dance, sing songs and 
touch their bodies with the burning torch. They return home at the 
end of Jeshtha (June) and pass the rainy season with their families. 
Of late years some of the Bhutes have taken to agriculture. 



4 




XVI 

BOGAM 

Bogam, Bhogam, Varangana, Kasban, Kalawant, Pathita 
DawMu, Tawaif — an order of Telugu dancing girls, originally 
attached to the temples of Siva and Vishnu as servants of the gods ; 
most of them novi' earn their livelihood by singing and dancing, 
or by 'prostitution. The word ' Bogam ' is a corruption of the 
Sanskrit '.Bhogam,' which means a 'common woman.' 

Internal Structure — The Bogams are divided into two main 
classes, Hindu Bogams and Muhammadan Bogams, the first being 
distinguished by the titles ' Sani ' and ' Nayaka Sani ' attached to 
their names and the second by the titles ' Jan ' and ' Nayakan.' 
The Hindu Bogams have the following sub-divisions : — 

(J) Munnur Bogam (5) Erkala Bogam 

(2) Telaga ,, (6) Jakoluwaru 

(3) Balja ,, (7) Agamodiwatu 

(4) Sani ,, (8) Bedar Patharadoru 
Munnur and Telaga Bogams are recruited from the Munnur, Kapu, 
Golla, Telaga and other castes of the same social standing. Balja 
Bogams, otherwise known as Basvis, are Lingayits in their creed and 
are chiefly to be found in the Carnatic. They are also called Linga 
Basvis, being devoted to the god Siva. They abstain from eating 
flesh or drinking spirits. Erkala Bogams, also called Kalapuramwaru, 
Kaikalaluwaru and Father Korwa, trace their origin to Urvasi, one 
of the heavenly courtezans. It is customary among them, when 
dancing, not to wear jingling anklets nor plait their hair into braids. 
The Jakoluwarus trace their descent from the nymph Menika. The 
origin of the Agamodiwarus is obscure. The Bedar Patharadorus 
take their name from the Bedar tribe, from which they are recruited. 

History — The Sanis regard themselves as prototypes of the 
Apsaras (celestial dancers), Rambha, Urvashi, Menika and Tilottama, 



92 BOGAM 

who dance in the celestial court of Indra. Their origin was 
synchronous with the building of the great temples in which the 
Andhrabhritya, Choi a, Kakatiya and Warangal dynasties expressed 
their devotion to their sectarian gods. In the different services of the 
temples, the duties assigned to them were to fan the idol with 
chamrds, or Tibetan oxtails, to carry the sacred light called 
Kumbharti, and to sing and dance before the god when he was 
carried in procession. They lived, as now, in free quarters round 
about the temple and held tax-free lands out of its endowmenV 
Their orders have been recruited from among the lower classes of 
Kapus, Gollas, Munnurs, Mutrasis, etc., either by admission or by 
purchase. Their ranks are also recruited by girls who are' devoted 
by their parents to the service of temples, in pursuance of vows made 
in times of sickness or affliction. 

The usage of attaching girls to the temples, for the service of 
the gods, has been in vogue for ages in different countries. " To the 
temples of Venus, in Asia Minor, large bodies of hieroJulce were 
attached who were at once prostitutes and ministers to the goddess. 
The daughters of the most illustrious families in Armenia 'passed 
from the service of the goddess Anaitis into matrimony with those 
of equal rank, and no stain adhered to them from their former mode 
of life. In Babylon, no woman of whatever rank could escape the 
obligation of once prostituting herself in the temple of Mylitta." 
(Dr. Shortt, the Anthropological Society of London, Journ. Ill, 
1867-68.) 

A girl to be prostituted has to undergo, on or before attaining 
the age of puberty, the ceremony of marriage. Hindu girls are 
usually wedded to the idols of Shri Krishna and Muhammadan girls 
are married to a khanjir or dagger. In the former case, a 
marriage booth of 16 pillars is erected at the girl's house and, on an 
auspicious day fixed for the celebration of the occasion, the idol of 
Shri Krishna is brought in procession from the house of a ' Satani ' 
Ayyawar. The girl is made to stand before the idol as if it were 
the bridegroom, a curtain is held between them and the officiating 
Brahman, reciting the Mangalashtaka^^-^x marriage stanzas, weds them 
m the orthodox fashion. The ceremonies that follow correspond 



, BOGAM 93 



in every particular to those of a Kapu or Munnur marriage. On the 
Nagveli day the girl is seated by the side of the idol and made to 
offer puja to Gauri, the consort of Siva. Betel-leaves, areca nuts 
and kpnkum (red powder) are distributed to the assembly of dancing 
girls, who sing songs, and, after blessing the bride, retire to their 
houses. A Bogam girl is sometimes wedded to a dagger, the cere- 
mony resembling the one described above. Married dancing girls 
^\(re regarded by Hindu women of all castes as never getting into 
widowhood, for the simple reason that they are wedded tO' an 
immortal deity. 

Inneritance. — Among dancing girls, property descends in the 
female line. In the failure of issue a dancing girl can adopt a 
daughter, but not a son, for the transmission of property. An adopted 
girl cannot share her mother's property during the letter's life time. 
The sons can claim only maintenance and marriage expenses. 

Religion — The Bogams belong both to the Vaishnava and the 
Saiva sects and their religious observances do not differ materially 
from 'those of other Hindu castes of the same social standing. Their 
favourite festival is Gokulashtami, celebrated, in honour of Shri 
Krishna, on the eighth of the light half of Shravana (August). The 
image of the god is worshipped with a variety of offerings and 
paraded with great pomp through the streets. They honour all the 
Hindu gods, celebrate Ganesh Chouth (the light fourth of Bhadrapad) 
in honour of Ganpati the elephant-headed god, and other festivals, 
and worship the implements of their craft on Dassera, the light tenth 
of Aswin (October). They employ Brahmans on religious and cere- 
monial occasions and ' Satani ' Ayyawars or Jangams for the per- 
formance of funeral rites. 

Disposal of the Dead. — The dead are usually buried, but are 
occasionally burnt in a lying posture with the head pointing to the 
south and the face generally downwards. Mourning is observed ten 
days for married girls, while the unmarried are disposed of unmourned. 
The ashes of those burnt are collected on the third day after death and 
either thrown into a stream ola buried under a platform. No Sradha 
ceremony is performed, but ancestors in general are propitiated on 
the last day of Bhadrapad (beginning of October). 



94 BOGAM ( 

Social Status — The social status of Sanis depends upon the 
castes to which they originally belonged. All Bogams, except the 
Erkala and Bedar, rank above the Mangala (barber), Chakla 
(washerman) and other lower castes. They eat the flesh of sheep, 
pigs, fowls, fish and ghorpod (iguana) and drink spirituous and 
fermented liquors. They eat kochi from the hands of Brahmans, 
Komtis, Kapus, Velmas, Gollas, Munnurs, Mutrasis, Ayyawars and 
Baljas, and all these, except Brahmans, eat sweetmeats from thefi' 
hands. 

Occupation — The Bogams are professional dancers and 
musicians. The lessons in singing and dancing are given djiily and it 
requires four or five years for a girl to become proficient in the arts. 
For this purpose, good-looking and well-made girls are generally 
chosen and, along with singing and dancing, they are taught how 
to dress tastefully and to exhibit abhinaya, or graceful attitudes 
and gestures, during the performances. Commencing their studies at 
the early age of seven or eight, they are able to perform at twelve or 
thirteen years of age and continue dancing till they are thirty or forty 
years old. Dancing girls attached to temples are required to dance 
daily before the idols, while the priests are officiating and offering 
puja to them : but the majority of these are trained to appear in 
public, when they are profusely ornamented with gold and jewels and 
sumptuously dressed in silk and muslin. The hair is divided in front 
along the centre, combed back, plaited into a single braid and decked 
with jewels and flowers. When dancing, a string of small brass 
bells, known as ghunguni, is tied around each leg immediately above 
the ankles. Some of the girls dance with exquisite grace and 
lascivious attitudes and motions. When singing, a dancing girl is 
accompanied by three men singers, one of whom plays, on a tabla, 
or drum, while the other two, sitting on either side of her, play 
on sarangis, or fiddles. One or two old women join in the 
music and keep time either by playing on cymbals or by clapping 
their hands: these are dancing girls who have given up the 
profession on account of age. Their ""songs comprise praises in honour 
of f^indu gods and are set to a variety of tunes. Most of the songs are 
leis'd in character, relating to some circumstance or other of the life 



Ti BOGAM 95 



of the amorous Kannayya (Krishna), the favourite and most popular 
god of Hindu females. But they adapt the quality of their songs 
to the place and the audience before which they perform. The 
earnings of a dancing girl depend upon the renown and popularity 
she enjoys, as well as upon the rank and wealth of her employers. 
Frequently, she receives valuable presents in money and clothes, 
bestowed upon her during the performance. 

All Bogams live in concubinage. Some of them are very 
handsome, with regular features, large, intelligent eyes, beautifully 
small hands and ankles, so exquisitely turned as to merit the admira- 
tion of any, beholder. Frank and gentle in appearance, modest and 
courteous in manner, possessing all the grace which the training in the 
Ars A maris gives, they form a striking contrast to the ordinary 
housewives, who are deprived of any kind of learning and allowed 
to grow up in ignorance and superstition. 

With respect to their occupation, the dancing girls are divided 
into twc4 classes, the one comprising Kemchan, Patharkar and Rcimjani, 
and the other Therker and Ranmals. The former regard themselves 
superior in social status and will decline to dance or sing on the 
same seat as the latter. The origin of these names is uncertain. 
Among dancing girls special reverence is paid to Deoa Dasis, or 
those who are consecrated to the service of the gods and hold mams 
from the endowments of temples. If a dancing girl associates herself 
with a man lower to her in social standing she incurs instant 
excommunication. 

A Muhammadan dancing girl, on coming of age, is manied to a 
dagger. Before a dancing girl is initiated to prostitution, the Misi 
ceremony is performed, of which the smearing of her teeth with 
dentifrice and the tying of a string of glass beads round her neck 
form important portions. 

The sons of dancing girls and such of their daughters as are too 
plain to take to prostitution have formed a separate caste of their own, 
governed by the same laws 6^ matrimony and inheritance as are 
prevalent among other Telugu castes. A full description of these 
wili be found in the section dealing with the Telaga caste. g 



XVII 

BORUL 

Origin. — Borul, Burol — a very small caste of Banias found inlfhe 
Parbhani and parts of the Bhir District. In physical character they 
resemble the Carnatic Banias, being short in stature, with -dark com- 
plexion and coarse irregular features. Their tradition represents them 
as descended from Kashyapa Mahamuni, the son of Marichi. They 
can give no information, however, which will throw light upon their 
original habitat or tend to connect them with any existing caste or 
tribe. There are unmistakable signs that the caste is gradually 
disappearing. 

Internal Structure — The Boruls are divided into two sub- 
castes, (1) Bail Borul and (2) Ghod Borul, which are endogamous. 
The true significance of these terms is obscure. It is said that the 
Bail Boruls are precluded from using the ox (bail) for riding, or 
any other purpose, while the horse is taboo to the Ghod Boruls, 
although in practice these restrictions do not seem to be observed, 
nor are the animals held in any special reverence which would give 
them a totemistic character. The Bail Boruls form the bulk of the 
caste in the Parbhani District. 

Some of the Boruls allege that (hey have only one gotra, 
Kashyapa, while others hold that they belong to thirty-one gotras 
of the Brahmanical type. But these are inoperative for the purpose 
of controlling intermarriages which are governed by surnames 
mostly of the territorial type. Some of the family names are — (I) 
Chinchane, (2) Rampurkar, (3) Khedkar, (4) Phatke, (5) Naswale, 
(6) Wagde, (7) Pike, (8) Tote and (9) Rajekar. 

Marriage — A man cannot marry within his section or outside his 
sub-caste. Marriage with the daugk^r of a mother's sister or of a sister 
IS not permitted. It is allowed with the daughter of a paternal aunt 
tar maternal uncle. Marriage of ~ two sisters to the same man is 



1 

.^ BoRUL 97 

1 
Recognised. Polygamy is permrtted but is rarely practised, a second 

wife being taken only in the event of the first wife being barren or 

incurably diseased. Widows are forbidden to marry again and 

divorce is not recognised by the caste. Sexual indiscretions are met 

with instant expulsion from the caste. 

Borul girls are married as infants between the ages of 5 and 
12 years and social reproach attaches to her parents if she remains 
unprovided with a husband before she reaches the age of puberty, 
ine marriage ceremony corresponds precisely to that in vogue among 
the Deshasth Brahmans of the locality. Balaji, their patron deity, 
is invoke4 before the marriage, which is performed at the girl's house. 
Saptapadi, or the seven steps the bridal pair describe along the laja 
homa, or the sacrificial fire, forms the essential and binding portion 
of the ceremony. The bride's father is required to pay a dowry to 
the bridegroom. 

Inheritance. — Succession to property is governed by the Hindu 
law of inheritance. 

Religion. — The religion of the Boruls presents no features of 
special interest. Their favourite object of worship is Balaji, a form 
of Krishna, who is honoured, with great ceremony, at the Dassera 
festival, when they abandon work and pass their time in religious 
service. Offerings of flowers, fruits and sweetmeats are made to the 
god on this occasion. They also worship other gods of the Hindu 
pantheon and observe the Hindu festivals and fasts. They make 
pilgrimages to Pandharpur, Tuljapur and Benares. Deshastha 
Brahmans are employed for religious and ceremonial observances. 
Women pay devotion to the tulsi plant [Ocimum sanctum) daily and 
to Ndga (the cobra) on the Ndgapanchami, or the 5th of the lunar 
half of Sravana (July). Ancestral worship prevails and images of 
ancestors, embossed on silver plates, are set up in a sanctified part 
of the house and worshipped every day. 

Disposal of the Dead — The Boruls burn their dead in a lying 
posture, with the head pointing to the south. Mourning is observed 
ten days for agnates and three days for distant relatives : the ashes are 
collected on the third day after^^^eath and thrown into a sacred river. 
Sradha is performed under the superintendence of Deshastha Brahmans, 

\ 



98 BoRUL 

on the 10th and 12th days, when balls of rice and oblations of water 
are offered to the spirit of the deceased person. Ancestors in general 
are appeased in the latter half of Bhadrapad (September). 

Social Status — In point of social standing Boruls rank next to 
Brahmans and above all the Vaishya or Shudra castes. They will 
eat food cooked by a Brahman, while Brahmans eat sweetmeats 
prepared by ihem. All castes, except the Lingayits, will accept 
kachi, or cooked food, from their hands. The members of this 
caste are strict vegetarians and abstain from animal food and liquSir. 
They wear the sacred thread, but no munja, or thread ceremony, is 
performed on the occasion. n 

Occupation — The Boruls are, by profession, shop-keepers, 
money-lenders, and traders, buying goods wholesale in the towns and 
selling them retail in the villages. The poorer members of the caste 
work as cartmen and frequently hire out carts. Some of them have 
taken to cultivation and hold lands on small tenures. 



I 



XVIII 

Brahman 

The Brahmans found in the Hyderabad Territory are divided 
> into three great classes — the Maharashtra or Maratha, Carnatic or 
Kanaddi, and Andhra or Telugu, according to their locahty. The 
Mahaj;ashtra Brahmans rank among the Ranch Dravida and derive 
their ifame from Maharashtra, a tract of country comprising portions 
of the Bombay Presidency, ihe Nizam's Dominions and Berar. 
They have several endogamous divisions, each of which is sub-divided 
into a large number of exogamous groups of an eponymous type, the 
eponym being a Vedic saint or Rishi. The main divisions of the 
Maratha Brahmans residing in the Nizam's Dominions are the 
Kokanastha, Deshastha and Karhada. 



XVIII-A 

Brahman — Kokanastha 

Kokanasthas, as the word indicates, are the residents of the 
Konkan, the narrow strip of land lying between Broach on the north 
and Ratnagiri on the south, and bounded on the west by the 
Arabian sea and on the east by the Sahyadri ghats. The sub-caste 
is also known by other names — Chittapavan, meaning ' pure in heart ' 
(chitta — heart, and pdoan — pure) ; Chitapavan, or ' pure from pyre ' 
(chitd — funeral pyre, and pdvan — pure), and Chitpol, or ' residents of 
Chitpolan ', the ancient name of Chiplun, in the Ratnagiri Collectorate, 
which has been regarded as being their original settlement. Being 
created by Parsharam, they are also called Parsharam Srishti, or the 
creation of Parsharam. Regarding the origin of the Kokanasthas a 
variety of opinions prevail. 

Origin. — Popular tradition locates their original home at or near 
Ambajogai in the Bhir District of the Nizam's territory, where they 
have their titulary deity, Y^geshwari. It is said that fourteen 



100 Brahman ^ 

ii 

Deshastha Brahmans of different family stocks or gotras accompanied 
Parsharam to tfie Konkan and settled at Chiplon, or Chitpolan of the 
Pauranik times, and hence afterwards came to be called Chitpols or 
(in its modified form) Chitpavans. 

A legend gives another account of their origin. The 
Sahyadri Kand relates that Parsharam, defiled by the slaughter of 
Kshatriyas, could not obtain Brahmans for the performance of the 
Vedic ceremonies for him. He, thereupon, recovered from the sea ^ 
the strip of land now forming the Konkan and made it over to 
Brahmans, whom he resuscitated from fourteen corpses washed 
ashore at the foot of the Sahyadri hills after a ship-Wreck. 
Since the corpses were purified on the funeral pyre befo;:e being 
restored to life, the Brahmans received the name of Chitpavans 
{child — pyre, and pdwan — pure), pure from pyre. This legend no 
doubt reviiingly indicates that the first ancestors of this caste came to 
the Konkan by the sea, and was probably suggested by the physical 
characteristics of this community, their light complexion, gray eyes and 
fine delicate features, which distinguish them remarkably from the other 
Maratha Brahmans. Writing about the Kokanasthas Dr. John 
Wilson says, " Perhaps it was under the patronage of the Sinhas 
of Gujerath, before the Christian era, that they began to settle in 
their present habitat. They are among the fairest (probably the 
fairest) of the Hindu races. They are greatly distinguished for 
their talents and administrative capacity and are often the ministers 
of the native states." A similar testimony is given by Grant Duff 
(" History of the Marathas," Vol. I., p. 77), and by 
Sir George Clark, who thinks them the cleverest class of 
men in the country. 

The importance of the Kokanasthas in modern history dates 
from the rise of Balaji Vishwanath Peshwa, and as the Peshwa's 
power advanced many families of the Kokanastha Brahmans emerged 
from their Konkan recesses and settled in provinces brought under 
the Peshwa's rule. During the whole of the 17th century 
they constituted a prominent factor in the political history 
of India. f '- 

Internal Structure.— The exogamous divisions or goiras of the 



Brahman 



101 



sub-caste, with the families belonging to each, are given below : — 
1. Kashypa Gotra ... Leie, Ganu, Gokhale, Jog, 

Lavate. 
Soman, Gangal, Bhate, Gan- 
pule, Damle, Joshi, Parchure. 
, ... Sathe, Bodas, Oke, Bapat, 
Bagul, Dharu, Gogte, Waze, 
Bhambe, Pongshe, Sathye, 
Govandye. 
Patwardhan, Phanse. 
Kidmide, Nene, Paranjape, 
Mehendale. 
, ... Vaishampayan Bhide, Bhad- 
bhoke. 
Achawal, Lone, Darve, Gan- 
dhare, Gungurde, Ranade. 
, ... Karve, Gadgil, Londhe, Mule, 

Daslike. 
, ... Limaye, Khambete, Jaeel, 

Maeel. 

Pendse, Kunte. 
, ... Malse. 

Bal and Behere. 

Gadre, Bam, Bhave, Wad, 
Apte. 
, ... Chitale, Athawle, Bhadbhole. 



2. Shandilya 

3. Vashistha 



4. Kaundinya 

5. Vishnu-vardhan 

6. Nittundan 

7. Bharadwaj 

8. Gargya 

9. Kapi 

10. Jamadagnya 

n. Vatsa 

12. Babhravya 

13. Koushika 

14. Atri 



These 60 ancient families have now developed into 352, some 
deriving their names from the occupations they subsequently adopted, 
such as Vaidya (physician), Kapse (cotton-dealer), Jamdar (treasurer), 
Desh-mukh and Bhascime (sacred-ash dealer), and others from the 
localities they resided in, such as Kelkar Kashiker, Shivnekar. A 
few of the family surnames were probably based upon the personal 
characteristics of the foundess, such as Mahabale (mighty), Vinode 
(funny fellow), Manohar (charming), also Khule, Aglawe, Vidwansa, 
Khare, &c., &c. 



102 



Brahman 



( 



The following table compares the present and past number of 
families belonging to each gotra or family stock :— 



No. 


Go/ra5. 


No. of 
past surnames. 


Subsequent 
additions. 


Tota 


1. 


Kashypa 


5 


40 


45 


2. 


Shandilya 


7 


58 


65 


3. 


Vashistha 


12 


50 


62 


4. 


Kaundinya 


2 


3 


5 


5. 


Vishnu-vardhan 


4 


6 


10 


6. 


Nittundan 


2 


6 


8 


7. 


Bharadwaj 


6 


15 


,-21 


8. 


Gargya 


5 


26 


r 31 


9. 


Kapi... 


4 


21 


25 


10. 


Jamadagnya ... 


2 


2 


4 


11. 


Vatsa 


1 


18 


19 


12. 


Babhravya 


2 


2 


4 


13. 


Koushika 


5 


34 


39 


14. 


Atri 


3 


11 


J 4 




Total 


. 60 


292 


352 



^ 



The Kokanasthas have no endogamous subdivisions. They 
belong to two shdkhds — Shakal of Rigveda, of which the sutra is 
composed by the seer Ashwalayan, and Taitirya of Black Yajurveda, 
with the seer Hiranya-keshi as its sutra composer. Members 
belonging to these two shdkhds intermarry. Intermarriage is for- 
bidden between families who have the same gotra and the same 
praWara (founder's name). Each gotra (family stock) is sub- 
divided into a number of praWards. The following table shows 
the gotrds having the same praWara : — 

No. Gotra sections. PraWaras. 

I. (i) Bharadwaj ... ...Angirasa, Brahasptya, Bharadwaj. 

(ii) Gargya ... ...Angirasa*, Sainya, Gargya. 

(iii) Kapi ... ... Angirasa, Amaihya, Vouruksha. 

* Atri has no kin and consequently its^B.embers can intermarry with the 
members of all the other thirteen gotras. This Angirasa is a different personage 
from the one who is akin to the first group. 



I 



Brahman 



103 



No. Gotra sections. 
II. (i) Jamadagnya 

(ii) Vatsa 
III. (i) Babhrwya 



(ii) Kowshika 

IV. (i) Vishnu-vardhan 

(ii) Nittundan 

V. (i) Vashistha 

(ii)* Koundinya 

VI. (i) Kashyapa 

(ii) Shandilya 



Prawaras. 
...Bhurgawa, Chyawana, Atmawana. 
...Aurwa, Jamadagnya. 
... Vishwaraitra, Awadala, Babhra- 

waya. 
... Vishwamitra, Aghmarshana. 
...Angirasa, Pauru, Kutsu. 
...Trisadasya. 
...Vashistha, Indra, Pramada, 

Bharadwaja. 
...Vashistha, Koundinya, Maitra- 

varuna. 
...Asita, Kashyapa, Avasar, 

Naidhruva. 
...Asita, Shandilya, Daiwal. 

Marriage is also prohibited between those who bear the rela- 
tionship of sapindds, which extends to seven degrees if the common 
ancestor, be a male and to five degrees if the common ancestor be a 
female. Thus marriage is only permitted if the common progenitor, 
being male, is beyond seven degrees either from the bridegroom or the 
bride, and beyond five degrees from either of them if the same be a 
female. 

Marriage. — Infant marriage is the custom among Kokanasthas, 
as among other Brahmans, the girls being married between the ages 
of 8 and 13 and the boys generally between 12 and 20. The duty 
of the selection of a bridegroom for a girl, or a bride for a boy, 
devolves upon the parents of each and, in their default, upon other 
relatives or guardians. A girl deprived of all relations is allowed 
by the shdstrds to marry a man of her own choice. Such marriages 
are, however, obsolete at the present day. A girl attaining maturity 
before marriage may be married after certain prescribed ceremonies 
of penance (Nimaya Sindhu). After the jamma patrikds (horo- 
scopes) of the bridal pair have been found lo satisfy all the astro- 
logical requirements, and after the bridegroom price (hunda), varying 
from Rs. 100 to Rs. 5,000, according as to whether the bridegroom is 
educated, or the son of a moneyed.man or land-holder, has been agreed 



1 04 Brahman / 

upon, an auspicious day is fixed for the wedding ceremony in any of 
the months of Margashirsha, Magh, Falguna, Vaishakha, and 
Jaishtha. The marriage is celebrated in accordance with the Brahma 
form, which enjoins "the gift of a daughter, clothed with a single 
robe, to a man learned in Vedds, whom her father voluntarily invites 
and respectfully receives." (Manu.) 

The actual ceremony comprises the following stages : — 

(1) Pun^avdchana — The recitation of benedictory mantras. ^ 

(2) Nandi Siddha — The offering of oblations to deceased 

ancestors, five on the father's and four on the mother's 
side, in order to procure their blessing on the.touple. 

(3) Grahamakha — The propitiation of planets. . 

(4) Mandapa Deoatd Praiisbthapan — The consecration of the 

marriage god and wedding booth deity on their being 
deposited in the house at the north-east corner. 

(5) A. Vdkddn — The verbal gift of the bride by her father 

or guardian. 
B. Vdgnishachaya — The formal consent of the _ parents 
on both sides to the marriage. 

(6) Simdnta Puja — The bridegroom's welcome and adoration 

on the outskirts of the bride's village boundary. 

(7) Varaprasthdn — The starting of the bridegroom in procession 

to the bride's house, where the marriage ceremony is 
performed. 

(8) Madhuparkr—The offering of honey and curdled milk as a 

token of holy welcome to the bridegroom on his arrival 
to the bride's house. 

(9) Antarpdt—The interposition of a silk veil or curtain 

between the bridal couple, who stand with garlands of 
flowers m their hands which, on the removal of the curtain 
at the lucky moment fixed for the marriage, they place 
round each other's necks, amidst the chanting of mantras, 
the roar of the tom-tom and the cheer of the assembled, 
guests and relatives of both sexes. 
(10) Kanyddan and Kanya Prittgraha—The formal gift of the 
bride to her husband, vyith other presents, and his formal 



\ . Brahman 105 

\ 

acceptance of her from her father. 

(11) Kankana Bandhan — in which each party ties a piece of 

turmeric to the other's wrist. 

(12) Vivdha and Lajja Horn — The sacred (ires worshipped by 

the bridal pair with oblations of ghi and parched grain. 

(13) Saptapaii — The pacing of the seven steps. On the 

north of the sacrificial fire, seven small heaps of rice 
are arranged and the bride, conducted by her husband, 
walks over them, placing her right foot on each heap in 
turn, each step indicating that the matrimonial tie is being 
J strengthened until, at last, after the seventh step is 
f)aced, the marriage becomes irrevocable. 

(14) Shesha Horn — The concluding fire sacrifice which brings 

the regular marriage to an end. 

The concluding ceremonies, which are of minor importance, are 
as follows : — 

Sunmukha — The first interview between the bride, decked in 
jewels, and her mother-in-law. 

Vardt — The return of the bridal pair in procession to the 
husband's house. 

Laxmi Puja — The worship of the goddess Laxmi — the deity of 
fortune and wealth. 

Devak.othdpan and Mandapothdpan — The dismissal of the mar- 
riage and wedding booth deities. 

The bride remains chiefly with her parents, and occasionally in 
her father-in-law's house, until she attains puberty. On attaining 
puberty she has to undergo the Garbhddan Sanskdr (impregnation 
ceremony), which entitles her to enter upon her household and conjugal 
duties. Cohabitation before maturity is forbidden on pain of 
prd})aschitta (penance). Polygamy is practised, but only in the event 
of the first wife proving barren, having no male issue, or being 
incurably diseased. Divorce is not permitted. If the husband loses 
caste the wife is permitted to \'w^ separately but cannot re-marry. 
The re-marriage of widows is strictly prohibited, the widow being 
required to pass an ascetic life, avoiding all sensual pleasures, prac *» 



106 Brahman ( I 

i 

tising ceremonial worship, feeding Brahmans and making pilgrimages 

to holy places. 

Inheritance — The Hindu law of inheritance is followed by 
the caste. 

Religion. — The religion of the Chitpavans is of the Vedic 
form and consists, in brief, in performing Sandh^d — twilight devo- 
tion — morning and evening, and repeating the holy Gd^atri, the most 
sacred text of the Vedas. They worship all the gods of the HinA 
pantheon, preference being given to the worship of Shiva. Their 
patron deities are Mahakali of Adiwara, Mahalaxmi of Kolhapur 
and Jogeshwari of Amba, to whom they pay homage Once every 
year. Every religious ceremony (sacrament) begins with a homa, or 
sacrificial fire, in which oblations of ghi are offered. Women honour 
the tuhi plant (the "Sacred Basil") daily. The cow is held in 
great reverence, as the symbol of Gayatri, and serpent worship 
prevails in every household on Ndgpanchmi or the lunar fifth of 
Shravana (July). 

The Kokanasthas are Smarthas (upholders of Smriti) and are 
the followers of Shri Shankaracharya, the great expounder of 
Adwailism (monism), which recognises " Prabrahma," or the supreme 
self, as the sole cause or supreme ruler of the universe and which 
identifies ' Parmatma ' with ' Jivatma,' the supreme with the 
individual soul. 

Child=Birth. — A woman in child-birth is ceremonially impure 
for ten days. When labour begins she is taken into a room rendered ,! 

artificially warm. The midwife, who is a woman of any caste, 
cuts the umbilical cord, removes the puerperal impurities, bathes 
the mother and the child and lays them on a cot. Both the cord 
and the impurities are enclosed in an earthen pot and buried. The 
mother is given a mixture of saffron and ghi. During the first two 
days the child is maintained on cow's milk, castor oil and honey | 
being given to it at intervals. On the third day after birth the 
mother is presented with cocoanuts and red powder and for the fifsl 
time gives her breast to the chilc|,», When the child is six days old 
the father worships Sasto or Satwai, who is supposed to assist at child- 
, oirth and to be the guardian of young children. The goddess is , 



\ 



) 

] 

. Brahman 107 



represented by two dolls of wheat flour and a sickle with its blade 
painted with strips of chunam (lime). Offerings of flowers, betel- 
leaves and nuts, sweetmeats and roasted gram, are made to the 
goddess, and a vigil is kept during the night in her honour. On the 
1 1th day the mother bathes and is free from child impurity. The 
child is named on the 12th day, when friends and relations are enter- 
tained at a feast. 

4^uneral Ceremonies — When a Chitpavan is on the point of 
death he is removed from his bed and laid on a blanket on the floor, 
with his feet pointed to the south. Immediately after death his 
sons, if any, jare bathed and have their moustaches shaved clean. 
The corpse is 'then washed, wrapped in cloth and carried on a 
bamboo bier to the burning ground. A funeral pyre is made and the 
body is placed upon it in a lying posture, with its head turned towards 
the south. The pile is lighted by the chief mourner, at the head if 
the deceased be a man, but at the feet if the same be a woman. 
Agnatic relatives, within seven degrees, observe mourning for ten 
days. The tones and ashes are gathered on the third day after death 
and consigned to a sacred stream. Funeral obsequies for the benefit 
of the departed are performed during the first thirteen days. Oblations 
of cooked rice are offered daily to the disembodied soul, to enable it to 
assume a subtle form which, developing limb by limb, attains full 
perfection on the 13th day, and is able to start on its journey to the 
region of the Manes. The journey is accomplished by twelve stages, 
extending over twelve months, and as each stage is reached Srddha is 
performed to impel the forlorn spirit onward. Srddha ceremony is 
celebrated on an extensive scale on the anniversary of the day of 
death, in honour of the spiritual body getting to its destination (Garud 
Puran). The ceremony is annually repeated afterwards. The 
departed Manes of ancestors are propitiated in the dark half of the 
month of Bhadrapad (August-September) by the performance of 
Mahdla^a or Paksha, the leading procedure in which is the offering 
of balls of cooked rice — three to the three paternal ancestors and three 
to the three maternal ancestors ; th<i rest of the ancestors receive 
small balls, while the remote ancestors receive only oblations of 
water. Besides these, daily oblations of* water are offered to the dead 



f 

108 Brahman , / 

/ 

after Sandh\}d Wandanam. Children dying before teething are 
buried without ceremony. The dead bodies of Sanydsis, or anchorites, 
are buried in a sitting posture, and the funeral ceremonies are per- 
formed by their sons or disciples, no mourning being observed in that 
case. 

The practice of sati was in full force among the Kokanasthas 
until its total discontinuance in the administration of Lord William 
Bentinck. One of the victims of the horrid practice was Ramabai, 
the wife of the Peshwa Madhaorao. 

Occupation. — The traditional occupation of the sub-caste was 
believed to be the one assigned by Manu to Brahmans — \]) Yajan and 
Ydjana (sacrificing and assisting in sacrifices) ; (2) 'Adhydyana and 
Adhydpana (learning and teaching the Vedas) ; (3) Ddn and Pratigraha 
(giving and receiving largesse). The Kokanasthas follow, at 
present, any respectable profession that does not entail social disgrace. 
Many of them have entered Government service and hold high and 
responsible posts under the British Government and Native States. 
Among them there are eminent lawyers, doctors, eEgineers and 
journalists. 

As agriculturists they are khots, or hereditary farmers holding 
land on permanent tenure ; there are other tenure holders, such as 
Deshmukhs, Deshpandes, Patels, Mirasdars, Inamdars, Jagirdars and 
Mokashis and occupancy and non-occupancy ryots. They have also 
prospered in other professions and are village accountants, money- 
lenders, cloth-merchants, bankers, native physicians, Shastris, 
Puraniks, Vaidiks and Bhikshuks (priests). 

They are strict vegetarians and eat kcchi only from the hands 
of the members of their own caste or of castes of the same social 
footing as their own. Kokanastha women, like other Brahman 
women, do not touch servants of inferior castes and if they do they 
afterwards bathe. 



XVIH-B 

Brahmam— Deshastha 
(Titles— Pant, Rao, Desai, Deshmukh, Deshpande, Kulkarni ,'\ 



and Patel.) 



\ 



1 

\ Brahman 109 



The Deshasthas, who form the bulk of the Maratha 
Brahmans in the Nizam's territory, derive their name from the Desh, 
or the highland tract above the Western Ghats lying between the 
Narbada and the Krishna rivers. They claim to be the earliest 
settlers on the soil, having been brought from Aryawartha by 
Parshuram from whom, it is alleged, they received the land as a gift. 
They are generally of a darker complexion than the Kokanasthas. 
They have four sub-divisions — (1) Ashwalayan ; (2) Apasthamba ; (3) 
Madhyandinas ; (4) Kanvas or Pratham-Shakis ; deriving their names 
from the Shakhas they follow. The first two sub-divisions comprise 
one endogamcjs group and have no matrimonial relations with the 
other two suB-divisons. The Ashwalayanas are also called 
Rigvedis, the two together signifying that the members of the sub- 
caste are Rigvedis of the Ashwalayan Shakhas. The Apastambhas 
belong to the Taitirya Shakha of Krishna (black) Yajurveda who 
respect the sutra of Apaistambha. The Madhyandinas derive their 
name from the fact that they reckon day from mid-day to mid-day, 
at which tirae they perform their religious ceremonies and offer 
Sandhya, i.e., their daily adoration to the goddess Gayatri. They 
are Shukla Yajurvedis (white) of the Madhyandin Shakha. The 
Kanwas are also known as Pratham Shakhis because they are the 
first Shakha of the white Yajurveda. Some of the Deshasthas are 
Samvedis, or Samaka, but, having lost their special shakha, they 
now intermarry with the Rigvedis. 

Internal Structure — The exogamous sections or gotras of the 
sub-caste are very numerous and are of the eponymous type. In the 
Nirnaya Sindhu, by Kamalaker Bhatta, the Brahmans of Western 
India are represented as having primarily sprung from seven gotras 
founded on the seven Rishis— Bhrigu, Angirasa (embracing the 
Gautamas and Bharadwajas), Atri, Vishwamitra, Kashyapa, Vasishta, 
and Agasti, which have now branched and sub-branched innumer- 
ably. Unlike the Kokanasthas, they have no surnames, their family 
names being based upon the place of their residence, or the calling 
they pursue. The rule of exogamy u ^the same as prevails among 
the Kokanasthas. In addition to one's own gotra, the Madhyandinas 
avoid their maternal uncle's goira in inatrimonial alliances. The 



110 Brahman / / 

Rigvedi Deshasthas, on the other hand, allow a man to marry his 
maternal uncle's daughter and the Kanwas go a step further and 
recognise a man's marriage with the daughter of his elder sister. 

Religion In matters of religion, the Deshastha Brahmans are 

either — (1) Smartha, or the followers of Shankeracharya, or (2) 
Vaishnavas, of the sect of Madhwacharya, the founder of Dwaitism 
(Duism), which identifies Vishnu with the supreme spirit as the pre- 
existent cause of the universe, and which separates the_ Jivatma from 
the Paramatma, or the principle of life from the Supreme Being. A 
few of the Deshasthas are ShakKtas, or the worshippers of Shaktis 
(female energies) and carry out their abominable practices in secrecy. 

The Smarthas perform Sand\)a devotion every morning and 
evening, pay daily homage to Piiras, or Manes, and worship all the 
gods of the Hindu pantheon, especially the five principal ones 
(Pancha))atan) — Vishnu, Shiva, Surya, Ganpati and Devi. Their 
sectarian mark is vibhuti (cow-dung ashes), which they smear in three 
transverse streaks on their foreheads and which, after the puja is 
over, they replace by a sandal spot. 

The Madhvas pay devotion to Vishnu alone, worshipping him 
daily in the form of Shaligram (fossil ammonite). Unlike the Shri 
Vaishanavas (followers of Ramanuja), they are friendly disposed 
towards the Shaiva sects. Their sectarian mark is a smear of ' 
gopichandan (ochre) on the forehead in two perpendicular linep, 
running from the nose to the root oFthe hair, with a central line of 
charcoal, divided in the middle by a circular turmeric patch at the 
centre. When being initiated, a Madhva is marked on the shoulders 
and on the breast with the shankJia or conch shell, the cha\ra or 
wheel, and other emblems of Vishnu, the stamp used being of red 
hot iron.* With Shaktas the favourite object of v/orship is Durga 
or Shakti (female energy) in whose essence it is considered all 
existence is concentrated. • 

The patron deities of the Deshasthas are Bhairoba of Sonari, 
Shri Bhavani of Tuljapur and Mahur, Khandoba^ of Jejuri, Shri 
Narsinha and Shri Vyankat9sh of Tripati. Each Deshastha family 
has its own family or patron deity worshipped with great ceremony 
either on the Paurnima (the '1 5th) of Chaitra (March-April) or on the ^ 



\ 



Brahman 1 1 1 



15th of Kartika (October-Novembei). The members of the sub- 
caste observe ^all the Hindu fasts and keep all their festivals. 

Occupation — With respect to their occupation, the Deshastha 
Brahmans may be divided into two classes. (1) Grinasthas or house- 
holders and (2) Bhikshuks or religious mendicants. The former 
include Government servants, merchants, money-lenders, bankers, 
land-holders and village accountants. Some of the land-holders, such 
as Deshmukhs, Deshpandes and Patels, are hereditary farmers holding 
permanent tenures. Other are occupancy and non-occupancy ryots. 
Their titles are Pant, Rao. Desai, Sir-Desai, Deshmukh, Sir- 
Deshmukh,' Deshpande, Sir-Deshpande, Mokasi, Kulkarm, Pali!, 
&c. Their aliases are: — Baba (father), Bhau (brother), Dada 
(brother), Kaka (uncle), Mama (maternal uncle), Jatya, Aba, 
Appa and Anna. The Bhikshukas comprise Vgiidiks (reciters of the 
Vedas), Shastris (expounders of the laws), Puraniks (readers of the 
Purans), Joshis (astrologers), Vaidyas (physicians), Haridasas (reli- 
gious preachers) and' Brahmacharis (religious students). The 
Bhikshukas act as famjly priests to their own caste as well to the 
inferior castes. They ar^ vegetarians, abstain from all intoxicating 
liquors, and eat only from the hands of those who come up to their 
own standard of ceremonial purity. 



XVIII-C 

Brahman — Karhadas 

Karhadas, Karhatakas — receive their name from the town of 
Karhad; situated on the confluence of the Krishna and Koyana rivers, 
in the Satara_ District of the Bombay Presidency. Their earliest 
settlement is said to have extended from the town of Karhad in the 
south to the river Vedawati in the north (Sah\}adri Khand Adh. 2). 
It was from this tract that the Karhadas appear to have spread over 
different countries and are now found in considerable numbers in 
the Konkan, Kolhapur, Bombay, Zansi, Indore and Hyderabad. 

Origin. — The Karhadas seem to be an offshoot from the Des- 
hastha Brahmans, separated from the main stock in far early times. 
' In the Sah^)ddri Khdnd of Skandha Pumna and in the Uttar Khdnd of 



112 



Brahman ( f 

), the Karhadas are said to have been 



Brahmdnd Purdna (Adh. 1 
made by Parshuram from a camel's bone, and are accused of carrying 
out horrid practices. The author of the Sahyddri Khdnd, who showed 
hostile feelings towards all rival sub-castes, no doubt based this 
legend upon the absurd derivation of the wotd Karhad from kflra 
or kflrahha — camel, and had — bone. According to another account, 
they are believed to be descended from a disciple of Parshuram, 
who was enjoined by his master to bring flowers of Karhataka 
(dhotra) daily for the worship of Nilkanth (the blue-necked Shiva). 
The regular performance of his duty procured him the nickname, 
Karhataka, which was subsequently transmitted to jjosterity and 
became the designation of the sub-caste. 

Internal Structure — The Karhada Brahmans are sub-divided 
into 22 exogamous groups, or gotras, which comprise more than five 
hundred families (surnames). A list of these gotras is 
given below : — 



No. Gotra 



I. 


Kashyapa 


2. 


Shandila 


3. 


Angirasa 


4. 


Gargya 


5. 


Gautama 


6. 


Mudgai 


7. 


Jamadagni 


a. 


Bhargava 


9. 


Vatsa ... 


10. 


Parthiva 


11. 


Rouhiia 


12. 


Bharadwaja 


13. 


Vashistha 


14. 


Koundinya 


15. 


Badrayana 


16. 


Upamanya 


17. 


Wainya 


18. 


Atri ... 



No. of surnames 

of eacfi goira. 

... 90 

... 19 

... 1 

... 20 

... 15 

... 8 

... 77 

... 2 

... 3 

... 2 

... 1 

... 85 

... 90 

... 1 

... 1 

... 2 

... 2 

... 83 



\ 



\ Brahman 1 1 3 

No. Goira No. of surnames 

of each gotra. 

19. Koushika 50 

20. Kutcha 6 

2 1 . Vishwamitra ... ... ... ... 1 

22. Naidhrava 11 



560 



The^e exogamous sections are eponymous in character, the 
eponym being the name of a Vedic saint or Rishi. 

Intermarriages are forbidden between families not only bearing 
the same gotra but also bearing the same pravara. Sapmda rela- 
tions (agnates), extending to seven degrees, are also avoided in 
marriage. Marriage with a maternal uncle's daughter is allowed 
by the caste. The three sub-castes, Deshasthas, Konkanasthas and 
Karhadas, were formerly strictly endogamous : but with the spread 
of western education this rigidity of the caste bond is being slackened, 
and instances of intermarriages between their members are of frequent 
occurrence at the present day. 

Religion — The Karhadas are all Rigvedis of the Shukla 
Shakhas, who respect the sutra, or aphorism, of Ashwalayana. They 
belong to both the Smartha, and Vaishnava sects, and in religious 
and spiritual matters follow the guidance of Shri Shankaracharya, and 
Madhwacharya, respectively. Their titulary deity is Mahalaxmi, or 
Ambabai, of Kolhapur. They also pay reverence to Shanta Durga, 
Mhalsa, Aja Durga, Vijaya Durga, and other local divinities. It is 
believed that a few of the Karhadas are Shakti worshippers and 
offered, in ancient times, human sacrifices to Matrika and Lalita, two 
terrible forms of Shaktis. The blood-thirsty goddess claimed a son- 
in-law as the proper victim but, if one was not available, any stranger 
of the Brahman caste was allowed. The ill-fated Brahman was 
lured into confidence, poisoned on the special day appointed for the 
worship and, while in his deatj) pangs, was sacrificed at the altar 
of the goddess. The following is an extract from a narrative com- 
municated to Sir John Malcolm by a Karhada friend in 1799 A.p. 



114 Brahman 



/ 



'"The Shakti is supposed to delight in human blood and is 
represented by three fiery eyes and covered with red flowers. 
This goddess holds a sword in one hand and a battle axe in the 
other. The prayers of her votaries are directed to her during the first 
nine days and on the evening of the 10th day a grand repast is 
prepared, to which the whole family is invited. An intoxicating 
drug is contrived to be mixed with the food of the mtended victim, 
who is o|ten a stranger whom the master of the house has for several 
months, perhaps years, treated with the greatest kindness and atten- 
tion and, sometimes, to lull suspicion, given him his daughter in 
marriage. . As soon as the poisonous and intoxicating dri^g operates, 
the master of the house, unattended, takes the devoted person into the 
temple and leads him three times round the idol ; on his prostrating 
himself before it, the opportunity is taken of cutting his throat. The 
blood having been collected with the greatest care in a small bowl, 
is first applied to the lips of this ferocious goddess and then sprinkled 
over her image ; a hole having been dug at the feet of the idol 
for the corpse, it is deposited with great care to prevent discovery. 
After perpetration of this horrid act, the Karhada Brahman returns 
to his family and spends the night m mirth and revelry, convinced 
that by this praiseworthy act he has propitiated the favour of his 
blood-thirsty deity for twelve years. On the morning of the follow- 
ing day, the corpse is taken from the hole in which it had been 
thrown and the idol is put away till the following Dassera festival, 
when a similar sacrifice is made. The discontinuance of this horrid 
custom in recent years is said to have principally arisen from the 
following circumstance : — At Poona, a young and handsome Carnatic 
Brahman, fatigued with travel and oppressed by the scorching heat 
of the sun, sat himself down in the verandah of a rich Brahman who 
chanced to be of the Karhada sect. The Brahman shortly after 
passed by and, perceiving that the youth was a stranger, invited him 
to his house, and requested him to remain till perfectly recovered from 
the fatigues of his journey. The unsuspecting Brahman youth readily 
accepted this apparently kind invitation and was several days treated 
with so much attention and kindne'js that he showed no inclination 
to depart. He had seen also the Karhada Brahman's beautiful 



'^ ' Brahman 1)5 

daughter and conceived a violent attachment for her. Before a month 
had elapsed he had asked and obtained her in marriage. They 
lived happily together till the time of the Dassera arrived, when the 
deceitful old Brahman, according to his original intention, determined 
to sacrifice his son-in-law to the goddess of his sect. Accordingly, 
on the tenth day of the feast, he introduced an intoxicating poisonous 
drug into his son-in-law's food, not, however, unperceived by his 
daughter. She, being passionately fond of her husband, contrived, 
unobserved, to exchange this dish for that of her brother, who in a 
short time i)ecame senseless. The unhappy Brahman, despairing of 
his son's recf)very, carried him to the temple, put him to death with 
his own hands and made to his idol an offering of his blood. The 
• young Brahman, [jerceiving this, and alarmed for his own safety, 
effected his escape and related the whole affair to the Peshwa. The 
infamous perpetrator with others was seized and put to death." 
(Trans, of Bombay L. Society, Vol. Ill, pp. 86-87.) Major Moore, 
in his " Hindu Infanticide," (pp. 196-198), refers to three instances of 
human sacrifice brought to his notice by Vishnupant, a Karhada 
Brahman. 

This horrid custom, which was confined to only a few Karhada 
families of Shakti worshippers, has probably been totally abandoned, 
as no instances of its occurrence have been recorded for many years. 
The Karhada Brahmans are remarkable for their neat and 
cleanly habits and hospitable conduct. They are a very intelligent 
class and have risen to high offices under the present Government. 
The poet Mpropant and the notoriously brave Rani Laxmibai of 
Zansi belonged to this caste. 



XVIII-D 

Brahman — Tirgul 

Tirgul or Trigul — found in all the Districts of the Maratha- 
wada and in the Bidar, Gulbarga and Mahbubnagar Districts of the 
Carnatic. They rank among the fi,ve Dravidas and generally speak 
the Canarese language. Those who have settled in Maharashtra 
speak Marathi, although traces of Ihe original Canarese tongue are* 



1 16 Brahman 

still discerned in their intonation. They are, as a class, strong and 
well-made, with dark complexions. They almost all belong to the 
Taitariya Shakha of the Black Yajurceda, which gives them a 
southern Indian origin, as it is a well-known fact that the followers 
of the Black Yajurveda are all confined to Southern India (" Indian 
Antiquities," Vol. I). 

Internal Structure. — They have several gotras, or exogamous 
groups, all of the eponymous character, as among other Brahmans 
of the Panch Dravida class. Their surnames are entirely the names 
of villages which are found scattered all over the Canatic. Thus 
the name ' Pargi ' is derived from a village in the Mahbubnagar 
District, ' Arankale ' from the village Arankal in the Gulbarga 
District, and so on. It is generally believed that the Tirguls were 
originally a branch of the Telugu Brahmans, who first settled in the 
Carnatic and subsequently came over to Maharashtra. They appa- 
rently seem to derive their name from the country of Tirgula which, 
in the Pauranika times, constituted one of the great kingdoms of 
southern India, for, in the Ramayana, the king of the Trigula country 
is mentioned as having attended the Swayamwara (choice marriage) 
of Sita and was described to her by her female companion. The 
name of this country has become obsolete, nor can its locality now 
be identified. 

Occupation. — The Tirguls mostly follow secular employments 
and among them are found great Zamindars, Jagirdars, village pateh 
and accountants. Some of them have taken to trade, while others 
are eminent Government servants and are also found in learned 
professions. The majority of them, however, are engaged in growing 
betel-vines and are deemed very skilful in rearing these delicate plants ; 
it is on this account, and because of their tendency towards culti- 
vation, that they are generally looked down upon by other Brahmans. 



XVIII-E 
Brahman — Golak 

History — Golaks, Govar^lhans — found in the districts of 
Parbhani, Bir and Usmanabad and in the northern Talukas of the 
District of Aurangabad. They are supposed to be the illegitimate 



i Brahman 1 1 7 

offspring of a Brahman by a Brahman woman who was not his wife. 
They are divided into two main classes : (I) ' Deeraj,' or bom of a 
woman who, with the consent of her husband, is intimate with his elder 
brother, and (2) ' Jaraja," born of an adulteress. The latter are 
further sub-divided into (1) Kunda Golaks, or the adulterous progeny 
of a woman who has a husband, (2) Randa Golaks, who are descended 
from the illegitimate son of a widow who has not shaved her head, 
and (3) Munda Golaks, descended from a widow with her head 
shaved. These classes have now passed into rigid castes and do not 
admit newly sprung bastards into their community. Members of 
these differ<int groups neither interdine nor intermarry. The Deeraja 
claim the highest social rank among the Golaks and are believed to 
include among them the descendants of child-widows who were 
re-married. It is said that Golaks have only four gotras, or exoga- 
mous sections — Washistha, Bharadwaja, Sankhyana and Vishwamitra. 
They have surnames also, such as (1) Dange, (2) Nachane, (3) 
Oute, (4) Badave, (5) Bhale, (6) Mahajana, (7) Samartha, (8) 
Undawale, (9) Kakade, (10) Nimbalker, (11) Dhanwantari, (12) 
Chariker and (13) Chandi. In their religious and ceremonial obser- 
vances they entirely conform to the customs and usages of the 
Deshastha Brahmans. 

Occupation — The Golaks are Rigvedis of both the Shakala 
and the Bashkala Shakhas, belonging to the Ashwalayan sutra. 
They are hereditary village accountants, astrologers, money-lenders, 
money-changers and cultivators. They also occasionally officiate as 
priests to the Kunbis. A few have entered Government service. 



XVIII-F 

Brahman — Vidur 

Vidurs, Krishnapakshis, Brahmanjayis — said to be the off- 
spring of a Brahman father and a Kunbi mother. The members of 
the caste claim descent from the famous Vidur of the Mahabharata, 
who was begotten by Krishna Dwaipayana or Vyasa, a slave girl of 
the king Vichitrawirya. They regard themselves as being higher than 
the Maratha Kunbis and a little lower than the Maratha Brahmans. 



118 Brahman , , 

Their marriages are regulated by exogamous sections, consisting oi 
surnames, and families bearing the same surname do not mtermarry. 
They have no sub-divisions and in matters of religion and ceremony 
they follow the Maratha Brahmans. Their tutelary deities are 
Bhavani of Tuljapur and Khandoba of Jejuri. 



XVIII-G 

Brahman — Kanada 
or 

Brahman — Karnatic 

They rank as the fourth of the five Dravidas living to the south 
of the Vindhya range. Their name is derived from the Carnatic 
country, or the country of the Canarese speaking people which, in the 
Nizam's territory, embraces the Districts of Raichur, Gulbarga and 
Bidar. In their appearance, physical characteristics and dress, 
they differ little from the Deshastha Brahmans, except in the turban, 
which they wear lower and in a less rounded form. Intermarriages 
are allowed between the Carnatic Brahmans and the Deshasthas on 
one side and the Telugu Brahmans and the Carnatic Brahmans on 
the other, so that the classification of the Southern India Brahmans into 
the Maharashtra, the Andhra (Telugu) and the Carnatic are in this 
respect more of a provincial or linguistic character than of an 
ethnographic one. 

Internal Structure — The Carnatic Brahmans belong either to 
the Shakal Shakha of the Rigveda or to the Taitariya Shakha of the 
Black Yajurveda and are divided, like the Deshasthas, into numerous 
gotras or exogamous groups — a list of which may be found in the 
Dharma-Sindhu. They allow a man to marry his sister's daughter, 
although such marriages are not sanctioned by the Hindu legislators 
(shastris). Their tutelary deities are Narsinha at Kuppu and 
Hanuman. 

The Carnatic Brahmans are divided into the sects of Shankara- 
charya and Madhwacharya. A few only are Shri Vaishnavas, the 
followers of Ramanujacharya. The principle matha, or monastery 
of the Madhawas, is the great temple of Krishna at Udupi in the South 



\ Brahman 119 

\ . . 

Canara district of the Madras Presidency. Besides this, there are 
eight subordinate temples in which are set up images of different 
forms of Vishnu and which are placed under the superintendence of 
eight san^asis called Wadiyarus. Each Wadiyaru in turn officiates 
for two years as superior of the principal monastery at Udupi. 

Occupation. — The majority of the Carnatic Brahmans are agri- 
culturists and hold lands on various tenures ; they also follow other 
secular pursuits. It was in connection with the Carnatic Brahmans 
that Abbe J. A. Dubois has made his sarcastic remarks which are, 
however, hardly justified by facts. ("Abbe Dubois," pp. 144-145.) 
Almost aU the revenue officers under Tippu Sultan were Brahmans 
of this secf, who were favoured by Tippu's government as the only 
men of business in the country (Dr. Buchanan's " Journeys," Vol. 1, 
p. 47). Concerning them Dr. Buchanan remarks that they were 
very fortunate under the Vijayanagar Rajas. Krishna Rayalu is said 
to have granted them a tenth of his land revenue. 



XVIII-H 

Brahman — Malvi 

The Malvi Brahmans are found scattered in small numbers all over 
the Marathawada Districts. They are immigrants from Malwa and 
the adjoining country and hence are called Malvi Brahmans. They 
belong to the Boudhayana Shakha (included in the Vajaseniya) of the 
Shukla Yajmveda and have eponymous sections of the same character 
as other Yajurvedi Brahmans. Being outsiders, as well as being 
deficient in their acharas, they are generally considered degraded by 
the Maratha Brahmans, and are not admitted to the communion of 
food. They are Shaivas and their tutelary deities are Bhavani of 
Tuljapur and Mahur and Khandoba of Jejuri. Narsinha and 
Vyankatesh are also revered. They are priests, shop-keepers, culti- 
vators, artizans, astrologers and jagirdars. 

XVIII-I 

Brahman — Kasta 
The Kasta Brahmans are foi^nd in very few numbers in the Dis- 
tricts of Bir and Parbhani. They call themselves Katyayani Shakhi 



120 Brahman / 

' / 

Brahmans and trace their origin to Katyayan, the eldest son of the 
sage Yadnyawalkya and his wife Katya. They are dark in com- 
plexion, well-built in frame and look like Deshastha Brahmans in 
appearance. They are looked down upon by the Deshastha Brahmans 
and are not allowed to the communion of food. 

The origin of this sub-caste is involved in obscurity. They are 
the Shukla Yajurvedis of the Madhyandin Shakha and have the six 
gotras mentioned below : — 

Gotra PraVara 

Bharadwaja ... Angirasa, Brahaspatya, Bharadwaja. 

Kaushika ... Aghamarsana, Kaushika, Vishwamitra. 

Kasyapa ... Avatsar, Kasyapa, Naidhruva. 

Katyayana ... Katyayana, Kiiaka, Vishwamitra. 

Vashistha ... Parasar, Shakti, Vashistha. 

Vatsa ... Apnavan, Bhargava, Chavana Jamadagni, 
Vatsa. 

Intermarriages between members of the same goira and the same 
praoara are forbidden. They marry their girls as infants and conduct 
the ceremony on the same lines as the Deshastha Brahmans. Their 
tutelary deities are Bhavani of Tuljapur, Khandoba of Ambadgaon, 
near Paithan, and Shri Vyankatesh. They worship all the gods of 
the Hindu pantheon. Some of them are Shaktas. By profession 
they are priests, money-lenders, money-changers and shop-keepers. 



XVIII-J 

Brahman — Pannase 

Pannase— also found in the District of Bir. Their origin is 
thus given : — 

Origin — There was a Deshastha Brahman who had in a dream 
seen a store of wealth. When he awoke he actually went to the 
place he had seen in his dream and dug out the earth, but, to his great 
surprise, found there nothing but coal. The coal he had thus secured 
was kept in an open place for sale. A certain Mahar girl, while 
passing that way, noticed this and whispered into her mother's ear 
that the coal was nothing but go!(5. The man overheard her con- 



\ Brahman 121 

Versalion, called the girl's mother to him and asked her to give the 
girl to him for Rs. 200 or so. Thus the girl was purchased and 
kept by him in his shop. Every piece of coal she touched was 
changed into gold, which was afterwards disposed of by him, and by 
this means the man made a great fortune. The girl was beautiful 
and the man fell in love with her. 



XVIII-K 

Brahman — Andhra 

The Andhra or Telugu Brahmans receive their name from Andhra 
Desha, or ffelingana, which extends from Lake Pulicat, north of 
Madras, as far to the north as Ganjam, and westward to Tripati, 
Bellary, Kurnul, Bidar and Chanda. The name ' Telingana ' is 
supposed to be derived from the Sanskrit word ' Tri-Lingam ' or 
the country of the three Lingas, Daksharam, Shri Shailya, and 
Kaleshwar (emblems of the god Shiva), the temples of the first two 
being situated respectively in the Godavari and Kurnul Districts of 
the Madras Presidency, and that of the last one on the confluence of 
the Godavari and the Indravati Rivers near Mantahni in the Karim- 
nagar District of the Hyderabad Territory. In H. H. the Nizam's 
Dominions the term ' Telingana ' is applied to the country which 
embraces the Districts of Nalgunda, Warangal, Karimnagar, Adilabad, 
Atrafi Balda, Medak, Nizamabad and parts of Mahbubnagar, Bidar 
and Nander. 

History. — Very little is known regarding the entrance of 
Brahmans into Telingana. Traditions say that the country was 
first colonised by Brahmans under the leadership of Agasti, a cele- 
brated Vedic sage, who penetrated through the defiles of the Vindhya 
mountains, which are fabled to have prostrated themselves before him, 
and advanced as far to the south as Cape Comorin (B. C. 500). 
The earliest Aryan colonies in Southern India which are supposed 
to have favoured the spread of Brahmanism and the Brahmanic 
influence were those of Pandyas, Cheras and Cholas. The Brahmanic 
immigration into the south was further encouraged by the Sunga and 
Kanva dynasties, who ruled Magadha (the modern Behar) from 



122 Brahman / , 

( 

B. C. 178 to B. C. 31. On the extinction of the Kanya dynasty 
the Andhrabhriiyas established their authority in Magadha (B. C. 31) 
and in course of time extended their sway throughout Andhra Desh, 
or Telingana. They were great patrons of Brahmanism, although, 
during the earliest part of their rule, they had supported Buddhism. 
It was, however, in the time of the Chalukyas, who succeeded the 
Andhrabhrityas, that Brahmanism received a great impetus. The 
Chalukyas were Vaishnawas, built many temples of Vishnu and 
endowed them with valuable gifts. Grants, on copper-plates, 
assigned by them to the learned Brahmans, are still found here and 
there all over the extensive country they once ruled. Thii oldest of 
these existing grants, made by Shri Vijaya Raja Sarova in A. D. 338 
to the priests (Adhwaryus) and students (Brahmacharis), was found 
at Kaira in 1837 A.D. A copper shasnam, recording an assignment 
of land to Brahmans by Pulakeshi in A. D. 489, is extant in the 
British museum. The Cholas, to whom the Chalukyas gave way, 
were Saivaits. They erected magnificent temples to Siva and bestowed 
liberal endowments for their maintenance upon the priestly class. 
The largest number of grants to Brahmans were made in A. D. 1078- 
1135 by Vira Deva, the last king of the Chola dynasty. After the 
Cholas came the Kakatiya dynasty of Warangal (A. D. 1150-1325) 
whose zeal for the sacred order was amply displayed by their 
munificent grants and the grand ' pagoda ' temple which one of 
them. Raja Prataprudra, built at Warangal. Under the Vijayanagar 
sovereigns the power of southern Brahmanism had reached its zenith. 
Learned Brahmans, such as Madhwacharya (Vidyaranya) and his 
brother Sayanacharya (the commentator of the Vedas), raised to the 
throne of Vijayanagaram one Bukka, who afterwards became their 
great patron. Since the fall of the Kakatiya and Vijayanagar 
dynasties the influence of Brahmanism in Telingana has been on the 
decline and the great temples and religious establishments still to 
be found over the country bear overwhelming testimony to what it 
was in its palmy days (Princep's "Antiquities," pp. 275, 279-280 ; 
Sir William Elliot's Paper in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic 
Society, Vol. IV ; Professor Wilton's " Indian Castes," pp. 81-39). 
For ages the Andhra Brahmfins have been renowned for learning 



'( Brahman 123 

and self-restraint. Kumaril Bhatta, who was a violent opposer of 
the Buddhists ; Shankaracharya, the great vedantic reformer ; Ramanu- 
jacharya, who was the first to inculcate the Bhakti doctrine ; 
Madhwacharya, the founder of Dwaitism ; Vallabhacharya, who 
originated the worship of Balgopal or the infant Krishna ; and other 
champions of Brahmanism, were all Andhra or Dravida Brahmans. 

Internal Structure — The internal organisation of the Andhra 
Brahmans is very complex. They may be divided into four main 
classes : (1) Smarta, (2) Shri Vaishnawa, (3) Madhwa, (4) Aradhi, all 
based upon their respective sectarian beliefs. The members of these 
different s^b-castes do not eat together. The Smartas are further 
sub-divided into Vaidiks and Niyogis. They are followers of Shri 
Shankaracharya. 

Waidi}(_s : — The Vaidiks are so called because they devote their 
lives to the study of the Vedas, strictly adhere to the vedic rites in the 
performance of their ceremonies and try to live up to the standard 
laid down by the shastras, never accepting service nor performing any 
menial .occupation. The spread of education and the consequent 
innovations of the times have compelled them to change their course 
of living and many of the Vaidik Brahmans are now found in Govern- 
ment service and in other respectable occupations. Their know- 
ledge of the Vedas is, however, limited to committing to memory 
certain portions of these scriptures and reciting them at various 
ceremonies. They never pretend to know their meaning. They 
recite and teach the Vedas and are greatly respected as authorities in 
matters of law and religion. They do not intermarry with the 
Niyogis, as the seculeirised Brahmans are called. 

The Vaidik Brahmans are either Rig Vedis of the Shakal 
Shakha, or Krishna Yajurvedis of the Taitariya Shakha. There are 
also Shukla (white) Yajurvedis among them, both of the Madhyandin 
and Pratham, or Kanva Shakhas, the latter being called Yadnyawal- 
kyas in Telingana. These classes are subject to the same restrictions 
of intermarriages as the Deshastha Brahmans of the Maharashtra. 
The origin of the Yadnyawalkyas is thus described in a legend in 
the Vishnu Puran : — Vaishampay^na, a disciple of Vyasa, once failed 
to attend the meeting of Munis, and was, in consequence, guilty of 



124 Brahman [ 

the crime of Brahmahatya (Brahman murder). He desired his dis- 
ciples to help him in the performance of the necessary penance ; but 
one of them, by name Yadnyawalkya, refused to take part in the 
expiatory rites ; Vaishampayana, enraged at this wilful disobedience 
of his disciple, pronounced upon him a curse the effect of which was 
that Yadnyawalkya disgorged the Yajna texts he had learned from 
Vaishampayana. The other disciples having been meanwhile trans- 
formed into partridges (tittiri) picked up these blood-stained texts 
and retained them. Hence these texts are called Taitireya Sanhita 
of Black Yajurveda. Deprived of them Yadnyawalkya devotedly 
prayed to the sun, who appeared to him in the form of a horse and 
granted him his wish "to possess such texts as were not known even 
to his teacher." Because they were revealed by the sun, in the form 
of a horse (vaji), the Brahmans who study this portion of the Yajus 
are called Vajis (Vajaseniya). Fifteen branches of this school 
sprung from Kanva and other pupils of Yadnyawalkya. There are 
thus two Yajurvedis to this day, the black being considered the older 
of the two. 

The Vaidik Brahmans have the following sub-divisions : (l) Telga 
Nadu, (2) Wei Nadu, (3) Murki Nadu, (4) Vengi Nadu, (5) Kasal 
Nadu, (6) Warna Salu, etc., deriving their names from the localities in 
which their ancestors had settled. These distinctions of Vedic 
Brahmins into nadus (localities) are said to have been introduced, 
in quite recent times, by learned men, the chief among whom was 
Eleshwar Upaadhyaya. The Nadus are prohibited from intermarry- 
ing among themselves, though rules regarding prohibitions of inter- 
dining are not so strictly observed. 

Ni^ogis : — Niyogis (occupied) are the secularised Brahmans of 
Telingana, many of whom are engaged as writers and village account- 
ants. They are almost all Black Yajurvedis of Taitireya Shakha. 
In point of social standing they rank below the Vaidiks, with whom 
they eat but do not intermarry. They are divided into four classes : 
(1) Nanda Warik, (2) Aharayani, (3) Arwelu and (4) Pasarwailu. 
Of these, the Arwelu sub-caste forms the bulk of the Niyogis in these 
Dominions. The word ' Arwelu ', means ' six thousand ' and it is 
said that the primary ancestors of the Arwelus were invested in one day 



t 



Brahman 125 

with pataWarigiriships of six thousand villages, by Abu! Hasan, the 
last Kutub Shahi King of Golconda (A.D. 1672-1687), through the 
Influence of Akanna and Madanna, the Hindu Ministers of the king. 
In those days the office of a village accountant was looked down upon, 
and intercourse with them in matters of food and matrimony was en- 
tirely stopped by other members of the sacred order. This account 
probably relates to the Golconda Vyaparis, a branch of the Niyogis, 
separated from the parent stock by reason of their conversion to the 
Shri Vaishnawa faith, for the Arvelus, as a sub-caste, have been 
in existeace for a considerable lime and appear to be a territorial 
group deriving their name from Arvelp Nadu, an ancient division of 
Vengi Desh, the southern Telingana. Some of the Niyogi Brahmans 
are distinguished for their learning and are advancing in culture and 
civilisation. 

Shri Vaishnawa Brahmans are the followers of Ramanujacharya, 
the great founder of the Vaishnava sect. They are so much in- 
fluenced by sectarial feelings that they have formed themselves into a 
separate sub-caste. They have two sub-divisions : (1) Vadhal, 
Vadahal or Vadgal, and (2) Thingal, Tenhal or Tengal, who eat 
together, but do not intermarry. They are distinguished from each 
other by the different sectarian marks on their foreheads. The Tenhals 
follow the precepts of Manavala Manumi and the Vadhals are the 
followers of Vedantacharya, both these preceptors being the 
disciples of Ramanujacharya. Their mantras differ slightly in their 
initiatory letters. Thus the mystic formula of the Vadhals begins 
with the name of Ramanuja, while that of the Tenguls with the 
name of Shri Shailu. The Vadhals have their principal monastery 
at Narsinha Kshetra (Agobilam) and the chief matha of the Tenguls 
is at Shri Shailya. Each of these sub-divisions has eight branches : 
(1) Madamba, (2) Andhrola, (3) Natapuram, (4) Gandi Gota, (5) 
Pancharatriya, (6) Ashta Gotri with eight gotras, (7) Vighas with 
seven gotras, and (8) Niyogi Vaishnawas. The first four are terri- 
torial and the others social groups. 

The Madambas are further jub-divided into eight classes, the 
Andhrola into five and the Niyogi Vaishnawas into seven. 

The Shri Vaishnawa sect was founded by Ramanujacharya, 



126 Brahman 

styled Sliri Bhasyakar, about the middle of the twelfth century. 
According to the Divya Charitra, he is said to have been the son of 
Shri Keshava Achar and Bhuma Devi and an incarnation of Sesa. 
He was born at Perambatur, 25 miles west of Madras, and studied at 
Kanchi or Conjeveram, where he taught his system of the Shri 
Vaishnawa faith. He afterwards resided at Sri Ranga, worshipping 
Vishnu as Shri Ranganath, and there composed his principal works 
and spent his life in devout exercises and religious seclusion. 

The worship of the followers of Ramanuja is addressed to 
Vishnu and his consort Laxmi and their incarnations, jmages of 
those deities in stone and metal are set up in houses and are 'worshipped 
daily. The principal characteristic of this sect is the scrupulous 
secrecy with which they prepare and eat their meals, being clad at 
the time in woollen and silk garments. 

The Shri Vaishnawa Brahmans officiate as Gums, or spiritual 
advisers, to the higher classes of Hindus and initiate disciples by 
the performance of five sacraments (Sansfiaras), of which the two 
most important are (I) Mudhra Dharana, or the marking of 'both the 
arms with the shanl^ha (conch) and chakra, the emblems of Vishnu, 
and (2) Mantropadesh, or the communication to the disciple of the 
8-syllabical mantra of Vishnu. The sectarian marks of the Rama- 
nujas are two longitudinal streaks of gopichandan drawn from the roots 
of the hair to the commencement of the eye-brows. In the case of 
the Vadahals (Vadagais), the streaks are connected by a transverse 
straight line at the root of the nose, while the Tenahals, or 
Thinguls. connect the perpendicular streaks by a lotus-like design 
upon the upper part of the nose. In the centre is a perpendicular 
streak of red sanders. They also besmear their breasts and arms 
with patches of gopichandan, for which wooden stamps are used. 
Women have only a single upright line from the nose to the hair. 

Ramanuja was the propounder of the Vishishta Dwait philo- 
sophy (qualified monism) as contrasted with Shankara's Adwaitism or 
absolute monism (non-duality), or the doctrine of the absolute identity 
of the individual soul with Brahti]a. Ramanujas hold the individual 
soul as not due to the fictitious limitations of Ma^a (illusion), but 
as real in itself, whatever may be ihe relation in which it stands to the 



Brahman 127 

highest self. 

The Aradhi Brahmans are Shaivaits and worship the god 
Shiva, symbolised by a lingam which both men and women wear 
about their necks. An Aradhi on attaining the 7th or 8th year of his 
age is invested with the sacred phalic emblem when horn is per- 
formed and oblations of ghi are offered to the god Shiva. Though 
Lingayits, they adhere to the caste system. In other respects, they 
entirely conform to the Brahmanical rites and practise the wearing of 
the sacred thread and the performing of the SandhyaWandan, or adora- 
tion to the Gayatri, and observe all the Brahmanical sacraments. They 
bury their daad, a practice which is condemned by the Shastras, and 
it is on this account that they are not admitted by other Brahmans 
to the community of food or matrimony. They minister to the 
spiritual, needs of the lower classes, by whom they are highly 
respected. 

The few Madhwas who are to be found in Telingana are 
emigrants from the Carnatic. Like the Shri Vaishnawas they are 
extremely bigoted in their devotion and cannot bear even the mention 
of the name of Shiva. They are mostly Rigvedis. 

Like the Smartas, the Shri Vaishnawas and the Aradhi 
Brahmans, they are either Rigvedis of the Ashwalayan Shakha or 
Yajurvedis of the Wajaseniya or Taitiriya Shakhas. No intermarriages 
are allowed between the members of these sub-castes, although 
they are not uncommon between Smarta and Madhwa Brahmans. 
There are also some Samavedis among them. 

The Andhra Brahmans are broken up into 161 gotras, which are 
supposed to have branched from the seven primeval sages, viz., 
(\) Bhrigu, (2) Angirasa, (3) Kasypa, (4) Atri, (5) Vashistha, (6) 
Agastya, (7) Vishwamitra. These gofras are grouped under eighteen 
ganas, as illustrated in the following table : — 

Name of Gana. No. of Name of Gana. No. of 

Gotm. Gotra. 

Jamadagni 17 Kanwa 2 

Veethahavya 6 Mondgalya 3 

Vainya 4 Viroopa 5 

Gritchamada ... ... 2 IVishnuvardhan ... ... 13 



128 
Name of Gana 

Vardhriaswa 

Gautama 

Bharadwaja 

Kapi 

Haritha 



Total 



No. of 


Name of Gana. 


No. of 


Gotra. 






Gotra. 


... 2 


Atri 




... 9 


... 7 


Vishwamilra 




... 38 


... 17 


Vashistha 




... II 


... 3 


Kasyapa 




... 10 


... 10 


Agasti 




... 2 


... 68 




Total 


... 93 



Each gotra is sub-divided into a number of pracaras and inter- 
marriages are prohibited, not only between the members of the same 
gotra, but of the same praoara. The gotra rule is supplemented by 
prohibited degrees and a man may marry two sisters, provided he 
marries the elder first. A second wife may be taken only in the 
event of the first wife being adulterous, barren or incurably diseased. 
In essential respects, the marriages of the Andhra Brahmans are 
celebrated on the lines followed by the Maratha Brahtrians, Sapta- 
padi, or the seven steps taken by the bride with her husband along the 
sacrificial fire, being deemed the binding portion of the ceremony. 
Some divergencies, which are purely local in character, may be 
described as comprising : — 

Arikur ropanam : — On the first day after the Kan^adan, Aritarpat 
and other Shastri ceremonies have been completed, nine different 
kinds of seeds (Naoadhcn\)a) are mixed up and sown in small earthen 
vessels filled with earth. These are watered by the married couple 
during the whole of the marriage ceremony and thrown into a lank 
or river when the ceremony is over. 

Sadasyam : — Performed on the 3rd day after the wedding, in 
which all the gods and planets are worshipped and Brahmans are fed. 

Nakbali : — In which the couple invoke the blessings of thirty- 
three crores of gods, represented by 33 pots arranged in lines under 
the booth and encircled with cotton thread. Close to the pots is 
traced a figure of an elephanti designed in wheat flour. In front of 
this, two pots filled with water and thirty-three lamps are placed. 
The couple go three times round this polu, as it is called, worship 



Brahman 129 

the elephant figure and the thirty-three pots, and view, in a cocoanut 
shell filled with oil and ghi, the reflection of their faces. The 
elephant is then removed and the earthen pots forming the polu are 
presented to the married women whose husbands are living. 

Panpu : — A sort of patomime of wedded life. The bride 
and the bridegroom are made to enact the parts of a mother and a 
father with a doll for their child. The mock infant is placed in a 
cradle of cloth and the young couple are made to talk over various 
topics regarding the care of the child. This incident is attended with 
great fun and mirth among the assembled guests. 

Dand^a : — In which a barber and a washerman, bearing the 
young coupte, dance to the strain of music and, when they meet, the 
bride and bridegroom sprinkle each other with bukka (red powder) 
I and other scented powders. 

No bride price is claimed in theory, but it is said that exorbitant 
sums are paid for girls by bridegrooms who are old, or cannot other- 
wise get wives. 

Religion. — As has been described under the articles on the 
Maratha'and the Carnatic Brahmans, the Andhra Smarthas worship 
Panchayatanam, or the five gods Narayan, Shanker, Ganpati, Surya 
and Devi. They believe that all deities are only different manifesta- 
tions of Para Brahma, or the supreme soul. The Andhra Madhwas, 
like their Carnatic brethren, stamp themselves with gopichandan, or a 
kind of mud of a sandal colour obtained in the Gopi Talao, the tank 
of the Gopis in Kathiawar, in which it is believed Shri Krishna 
bathed with gopikas (cowherd damsels). They are partial to the 
worship of Vishnu. As has been already mentioned, the different 
sub-castes of the Shri Vaishanava Brahmans are distinguished by the 
different sectarian marks of sandal which they put on their foreheads. 
Besides worshipping Vishnu, as Narayen, Shri Vaishanavas pay 
devotion to twelve of their patron saints. These latter are designated 
by the name ' Alwars ' and are each said to have written a portion 
of the Dravida Pradhan, or Tamil Veda, chiefly designed for Sudras 
and women. Ramanuja is supposed to be the same as Yembiru 
Manaru, the last of the Alwars. Their names are : — 
(I) Mam A! war * (2) Poy Alwar 

1 



130 Brahman 

(3) Pary Alwar (4) Peedath Alwar 

(5) Periy Alwar (6) Thirumang Alwar 

(7) Tondaradippadi Alwar (8) Tirmudesh Alwar 

(9) Kulasekhar Alwar (10) Madhankavi Alwar 

(II) Tirupan Alwar (12) Kuratha Alwar. 

These are worshipped on the anniversary days of their births : 

besides these there are other alwars, or saints, respected by the Shri 

Vaishanavas. 

Minor deities, such as Pochamma, Potraja, Yelamma, Mutyal- 

ama and others, are propitiated by the whole caste, a Kumbhar or 

Bhoi being employed as priest on the occasion of their worship. 

There are some Shaktas (Shakti worshippers) among the Andhra 

Brahmans who carry on their abominable practices in strict privacy. 

XVIII-L 

Brahman— Marwadi 

The Marwadi Brahmans found in H. H. the Nizam's Dominions 
are emigrants from Northern India, especially from Malwa and, as 
such, may be ranked with the five Gauras, whom they almost resemble 
in their customs and usages. They have six sub-divisions, which are 
grouped under one designation " Chhannyati," meaning six castes. 
Regarding their origin, it is said that Maharaja Jayasingh of Jaipur 
performed a horse sacrifice (Ashwa Medha), to which he invited a 
vast concourse of Brahmans from different countries and requested 
them to eat together. The Brahmans, as a matter of course, refused 
compliance. The Maharaja, thereupon, forced the Brahmans of his 
own kingdom to be united by interdining, and the six classes, thus 
brought together, have been known as " Chhannyati Brahmans." 

The sub-divisions are : — 

(1) Dayama (Dahima) (4) Saraswat. 

(2) Parikha. (5) Gujar Goud 

(3) Shrikhwad (6) Khandelwad. 

Origin. — Dayamas, or Dahimas, claim to be descended from the 
sage Dadhichi, who was the son of Atharwana and the grandson of 
Brahma. Dadhichi had a son by his wife, Satyaprabha, who deposited 



Brahman 131 

the child, while still in an embryonic state, under a pipal tree 
(Ficus religiosa) and joined her husband in heaven. The goddess 
Maya developed the embryo, nursed the child and named him 
Pippalayan, after the pipal tree under which he was born. 
Pippalayan had twelve sons, who were married to the twelve 
daughters of the king Mandhata. From these twelve sons sprung 
172 families of Dahima Brahmans, of which only 85 are extant at the 
present day. 

The Dahimas belong to the Madhyandina Shakha of the white 
Yajmoeda, with three and five pravaras. They are Smarthas by 
sect and *vorship Panchayatanam, or the five principal deities of the 
pantheon. ' Some of them are very learned in the sacred lore. Their 
women wear ivory bangles. Their tutelary deity is Dudh Muth, 
of whom there is a temple at the village of Mangled, in Nagor 
(Malva), where a large fair is held annually in honour of the deity. 

The Parikh trace their lineage to the sage Parashara. Like the 
Dahimas they are white Yajurvedis of the Madhyandina Shakha. 
They are said to have 103 exogamous sections. They are, mostly, 
Vaishanavas, of the Vallabha sect. Their women wear glass bangles 
after they are married. 

The Gujar Gowds are believed to be an offshoot from the Gaur 
Brahmans of Bengal. They are Shukla Yajurvedis, belong to the 
Shaiva sect, and minister to the spiritual needs of the Marwadi 
Mahajans. They claim descent from the sage Gautama. 

The Saraswats are rarely found in these Dominions. Their tradi- 
tion is that Brahma had a daughter named Saraswati, who was married 
to Dadhicha Rishi. They had a son who was named Saraswat and 
became the founder of this clan of Brahmans. The Saraswats are 
Saivaits in their creed. 

The Khandelwads take their name from the village of Khandela, 
in the Jaipur State. They are divided into 53 sects, which are the 
names of localities they dwell in. 

Marriage With the Chhannyati Brahmans the eponymous 

gotras are only nominal and their marriages are regulated by exoga- 
mous groups, purely of the territorial type. In other words, inter- 
marriages are allowed between parties having the same gotra or 

) 



132 Brahman 

eponym, but they are not allowed between persons having the same 
surname. Girls are married both before and after they have attained 
the age of puberty, and adult marriage, which is strictly prohibited by 
the Brahman caste in general, is in vogue among the Chhannyali tribes. 
This is certainly a strange departure from the orthodox usage and 
gives credence to the story of their having been manufactured by the 
Maharaja Jayasingh some hundred and fifty years ago. A heavy bride- 
price is sometimes paid to the parents of the girl. The marriage 
procession is formed at the house of the bridegroom and conducts him, 
riding on a mare, to the house of the bride. There the whole party 
is entertained. At the auspicious moment appointed for the ,. wedding, 
the bride and the bridegroom are seated under the weddirig canopy, 
a sacrificial fire is kindled before them and appropriate mantras are 
recited by the priest. The young couple walk seven times round the 
holy fire, always keeping their right hands towards it. This forms the 
essential or binding portion of the ceremony. Widows are not 
allowed to marry again, nor is divorce recognised by the caste. A 
man may marry as many wives as he can afford to maintain. 
Marwadi Brahmans officiate as priests to the Marwadi Mahajanas, or 
trading classes, and other lower classes such as Sonar, Shimpi, Barbers 
and others. Some of them are traders and money-lenders. As 
priests to the lower classes they are notorious for their rapacity and 
greed. A few of them are eminent astrologers and learned pandits. 
Internal Structure — The section names of the Dayama 
Brahmans are appended and may serve as an illustration of the 
exogamous sections of the entire Chhannyati caste. 
Name of Gotra. Name of Family. 

Gautamasa Pathodya, Palod, Nahawal, Kumbhya, 

Kand, Budadhara, Khatod, Bussana, 
Bagdya, Bedwant, Bananasidra, Lelodya, 
Kakada, Gagwani, Bhuwal. 
^^'5^=^ Ratawa, Koliwal, Baldawa, Rolanya, 

Cholankhya, Jopat, Ithodya, Polgala 
Nosara, Namawal, Ajasera, Kukada, 
Taranawa,^ Abadina, Didiyel, Musya, 
Mang. 



Brahman 



133 



Name of Gotra. 


Name of Family. 


Bhardwaja. 


Pedwal, Shukal, Karesha, Malodya, 




Ashopa Lyali, Barmota, Indokhawal, 




Halsara, Bhatalya, Gadiya, Solyani. 


Bhargava 


Inanya, Pathanya, Kasalya, Shilnodya, 




Kurangava, Jajodya, Khebar, Visava, 




Ladanava, Badagana, Kadlava, Kap- 




dodya. 


Kabchas. 


Didvanya, Malodya, Ghavdoda, Jatlya, 




Dobha, Mungel, Mananwal, Sosi, 


• 


Goteca, Kudal, Traitawal. 


Kashyapa 


Choraida, Dirolya, Jamawal, Shirgota, 




Rajathala, Badwa, Balaya, Cholankhya. 


Shandilas 


Ranava, Bediya, Bed, Gothangawal, 




Dahwal. 


Atreyas 


Satwal, Jujanodya, Dubanya, Sakalya. 


Parasar 


Bheda, Parasara. 


Kablas . 


Chipada. 


Gargas. 


Tulcha. 



XIX 

BUDBUDKE 

Budbudke — a very low class of beggars, speaking Marathi and 
Telugu, and deriving their name from the bud bud (gurgle-like) 
sound of the daphada (a sort of drum), which they beat while asking 
for alms. They are both Hindus and Muhammadans. Belh classes 
are periodical wanderers, going on their rounds of mendicancy during 
the dry season, and returning to their homes when the rains set in. 
The Hindu Budbudkes obtain alms by singing the names of Hindu 
deities to the sound of a hollow brass ring which they wear on their 
right thumb. They wear a rudraksha necklace and a semi-lunar brass 
plate on their heads. In matters of diet they have few fcruples, 
and eat the flesh of lizards, jackals, field rats, wild and domestic hogs 
and of animals that have died a natural death. The Muhammadan 
beggars, on their begging rounds, have a bag (jholi), a bell, and two 
sticks. To one stick is fastened the jholi and the bell, which rings at 
every step ; the other stick is kept to drive away the dogs that bark 
at them at the sound of the bell. They are under a superior called 
Gudusha Fakir, who lives in Martur, six miles from Shahabad. 
In religion and ceremonials they conform to the ordinary Muhammadan 
customs. 



XX 

BURUD 

Burud, Miyadar, Myadar, Medare — a low caste of bamboo- 
workers and basket and mat-makers, found under different names in 
all parts of the Dominions. They appear to be a heterogeneous group, 
comprising members of different tribes, among whom there is probably 
some infufton of aboriginal blood. The name ' Burud,' by which the 
caste is designated in Maharashtra, is of uncertain origin, and corres- 
ponds to the Telugu word ' Medare ' and the Carnatic ' Miyadara.' 
The customs and the social status of the caste are found to vary greatly 
in different places, a fact which may be due to its wide distribution 
and its consequent exposure to different social and religious influences. 

Internal Structure — The Buruds have three main divisions, 
Maratffe Buruds, Telugu Buruds and Carnatic Buruds, named after 
the countries they have long occupied. No intermarriage nor inter- 
dining is allowed among the members of the sub-castes. 

MaRATHA Buruds : — By Manu and other ancient authorities, 
these are regarded as a mixed caste, being the descendants of the 
Kanishka, the son of a Kaivartaka father and a Kuravinda mother. 
Several legends are current among them regarding their origin. 
According to one story the first Burud was created by Mahadeva for 
the purpose of making winnowing baskets to hold the offerings with 
which Parvati, on reaching mature age, was presented by the celestial 
matrons. The Burud was allowed to cut five bamboos from Parvati's 
garden ; but he over-reached himself and cut seven bamboos instead, 
for which offence he and his descendants were condemned to a degraded 
position. Another legend ascribes his degradation to the manufacture 
of a bamboo basket for Parvati's flowers and fruit as she went to 
worship the Wadh (Ficus indica) on the full moon day of Jesta (end of 
June). These legends, however, throw no light upon the real origin 
of the caste. ' 

] 



1 36 BuRUD 

It will be very interesting to notice the curious form of totemism 
followed by the Buruds. Their exogamous sections bear the names 
of trees, plants and animals, whose representations are set up under 
marriage booths and worshipped as Deoak (wedding guardian deity) 
at marriage ceremonies. Similarity of worship is a bar to marriage, 
and matrimonial alliances will be broken off if the two houses are 
discovered to pay honour to the same totem. 

The following section names will serve as illustrations : — 

Section name. Devak (Marriage guardian deity.) 

Sonune. A branch of the apta (Bmhinia racemosa). 
Wadtele. Do. wadh (Ficm indica)., 

Kate. Do. saundad (Prosopis spicigera). 

Pimpare. Do. pipal (Ficus religiosa). 

Salunke. Do. mango (Mangijera indica). 

Kombatkule. The flesh of the kpmhada (fowl). 
Dukare. Do. du\ara (swine). 

Supkar. Sup (a winnowing fan). 

Itkare. It (a brick). 

Surwashe. A stick of surya grass. 

Bhale. A pod of the hhal plant (a wild plant). 

The section names go by the male side. A Burud cannot marry 
outside the sub-caste, nor inside the section to which he belongs. 
Marriage with the daughter of the mother's brother or the father s 
sister is allowed. Two brothers may marry two sisters, provided 
that the elder brother marries the elder sister. 

Marriage — Daughters are married both in infancy and after 
they have attained the age of puberty. Sexual licence before marriage 
is not tolerated, and if a girl becomes pregnant before marriage she 
is required to undergo prayaschii (penance) which consists of 
bathing her, giving her cow's urine to drink and feasting caste 
brethren. Polygamy is permitted in case the first wife is barren or 
incurably diseased. 

The parents or guardians of the boy look out for a suitable 
match for their son and carry on the preliminary negotiations. 
After the match has been settled, the betrothal or Kunku Lavane 



BuRUD 137 

ceremony is performed, at which the girl is presented with a sari, a 
choli and one rupee. Liquor is then brought and drunk by the 
assembled people. The parents of the bride visit and present the 
bridegroom with a ring. After the village Joshi has fixed an auspicious 
date for the wedding and for smearing the bridal pair with turmeric 
and oil, offerings are made to the village and family gods and 
marriage booths are erected in front of the houses of the bride and 
bridegroom. On the day prior to the wedding, a married couple, 
belonging to the bridegroom's family, bring, in procession, their 
characteristic family Devak, with Pancbpallavi from Maruti's temple 
and instal it ceremonially on the central pillar of the booth. The 
same ceremcJhy is performed by the bride's people on the wedding 
day. The bridegroom is escorted to the bride's village by his 
friends and relatives and on the wedding day he is taken in procession 
on the back of a horse or bullock to the bride's house. The cere- 
monies that follow are — Antarpat, at which a cloth is held between 
the bridal pair, mantras are pronounced by the priest and rice is 
sprinkled over their heads ; Kan^adan, or the formal gift of the bride 
to the bridegroom ; Kankan Bandhan, or the tying of thread-bracelet's 
on the wrists of the couple ; and Sade, or the return of the bridal pair 
to the bridegroom's house. Antarpat is held to be the essentia! 
part of the ceremony. The ceremony occupies four days and on 
each day food and liquor are provided to guests and relatives, who 
freely indulge in drink and often become uproarious. The caste 
Panchayat claim Rs. 4 as their perquisite in the ceremony, and 
spend the amount in feasting and drinking. 

Widow-marriage or pat is allowed, and is always performed at 
night, the widow not being restricted In her selection of a second 
husband, provided he does not belong to her father's or late husband's 
gotra. The couple are seated side by side and their clothes are 
knotted together, the tying of the knot completing the ceremony. 
On the next day a feast is given to the caste people. Married 
women, whose husbands are alive, are not allowed to be present 
at the ceremony. 

Divorce is permitted, with the sanction of the caste Panchayat, 
on the ground of the wife's adulterjl or misconduct, and it is effected 



138 BuRUD 

by a Soda Chiiti, or divorce deed. Divorced women are allowed 
to marry again by the same ritual as widows. The name for divorce 
is jarkat, which means separation. Adultery is usually punished 
by small fines and the adulteress is required to do penance. 

Inheritance — The Buruds follow the Hindu law of inheritance 
and a sonless father's property goes to his nephew, the daughters 
having no claim. The widow has a life estate, provided she does 
not re-marry. 

Child=Birth — A woman, after child-birth, is held unclean for 
ten days. On the fifth day after birth an image of the goddess 
Satwai is set up on a grindstone and daubed with red lead. Near it 
pieces of moss (shewal) and prickly pear are laid, and worshipped by 
the members of the household with offerings of bread and pulse. A 
dough lamp is kept burning and the women of the house keep a vigil 
and sing and converse the whole night. On the 12th day after birth 
the house is smeared with cow-dung, the clothes are cleansed and the 
mother and child are bathed. Five pebbles are worshipped outside 
the house and in the evening the child is laid in a cradle and named. 

Religion — The religion of the Buruds is the ordinary form of 
Hinduism current among the other castes of the Maratha Districts. 
They are mostly Shaivas and worship, on Mondays, the god Mahadeva 
as their favourite deity. Bhavani, Khandoba, Maruti, Bahiroba, 
Krishna and Ram are also honoured, and a variety of offerings are 
made on days sacred to them. Among their minor deities may be 
ranked birs and munfyas (spirits of departed ancestors), Mari Ai, 
Shitala, Mahasoba and other local gods. The well-to-do members 
of the caste make pilgrimages to Alandi, Jejuri, Tuljapur, Mahur 
and Pandharpur. Deshastha Brahmans are employed for religious 
and ceremonial purposes, but at funerals Jangams usually officiate. 
Ancestral worship prevails and they have in their houses silver and 
copper embossed plates of their dead ancestors. In Aswin (Dassera) 
they pay honour to the implements of their craft. 

Disposal of the Dead — The dead are burnt, as well as buried 
in a lying posture with the head pointing to the south. In the case 
of cremation, the ashes are collected on the third day after death and 
thrown into a river or tank. Thf chief mourner shaves his moustache 



BuRUD 139 

and beard. Sradha is performed on the 1 0th day after death, when 
pindas, or balls of rice, are offered in the name of the deceased 
person. On the 1 3th day, caste people are feasted and some charity 
is distributed for the benefit of the departed soul. Persons dying of 
smallpox or cholera, and children dying under five years of age, 
are buried. 

Social Status — Socially, the Buruds rank below the Maratha 
Kunbis, Malis, Hatkars and Wanjaris, from whose hands they accept 
cooked food. They eat mutton and the flesh of fowl, hare, deer 
and fish and indulge freely in strong drink. 

Occup!ition. — The occupation of the caste has always been 
that of bamboo working, but some of them have, of recent years, taken 
to cultivation and are engaged as landless day-labourers. They make 
bamboo baskets, mats, winnowing fans, cages, cradles, sieves, 
chairs, and other articles. They also make cane chairs and boxes. 

Medare or TelaNGE Buruds : — These are supposed to have 
taken their name from Mount Mahendra, or Mahendragiri, near 
Cape Coqfiorin. A popular legend regarding their origin relates 
how Mahadeva, desirous of gratifying the yearning of Parwati for 
winnowing fans, planted the snakes from his neck, heads downwards, 
in the ground on Mount Mahendra and how bamboos grew 
out of them and were worked into fans by Siva's attendants. On 
one occasion, lovely apsaras (heavenly courtezans) visited the moun- 
tain and captivated the hearts of the Siva ganas (Siva's attendants), 
their unions being blessed with sons and daughters who were called 
Mendare, or Medare, after the name Mahendra of their birth- 
place ; these inherited, as their profession, the work of their fathers, 
and became the progenitors of the present Medare caste. 

Internal Structure — The internal structure of the caste is 
intricate owing, doubtless, to the fact that the term ' Medare ' has now 
become the common appellation of all classes who have taken to 
bamboo working. As for instance, there are Mang Medares, or 
Mangs who have adopted the occupation of bamboo-workers ; Tota 
Medares ; and so on. The following sub-castes may be distinguished 
as constituting the Medare caste-j(l) Lingayit Medare, (2) Chetti 
Medare, (3) Medara, (4) Are Ifledare, (5) Pachabadalwad and 



140 



BURUD 



(6) Adi Kodku. The last are the genealogists, or gotra custodians, 
of the rest of the sub-castes and beg only from them. Lingayit 
Medares are Lingayits in creed, and occupy the highest social level 
among the community. They stand in hypergamous relation to the 
other sub-castes. Next to these, in social precedence, rank the Chetti 
Medares, who originally represented rich and respectable families, 
but have now separated themselves from the poorer members of the 
community and formed an independent sub-caste. In recognition 
of their superiority the title ' chetti ' is affixed to their names. Are 
Medares were formerly Maratha Buruds who, under some social 
pressure, emigrated into Telingana, where, in course of time, they 
adopted the customs and manners of Telanga Buruds and are now 
completely absorbed into their adopted community. 

Like other Telanga castes, the Medares follow a double system 
of exogamous sections, one consisting of gotras and the other of 
family names. Both the systems have been given below : — 

Goiras. 



1 . Devakula. 






II. 


Rai Akalu. 


2. Kasha Kulc 


1. 




12. 


Kokala. 


3. Marikula. 






13. 


Joikula. 


4. Ushaula. 






14. 


Depikula. 


5. Padgashala. 






15. 


Kashkala. 


6. Hanmanta. 






16. 


Tumala. 


7. Usikula. 






17. 


Tamana. 


8. Borgula. 






18. 


Gone. 


9. Nagarsa. 






19. 


Palli. 


10. Dayatula. 






20. 


Ganeshi. 






Family Names. 




Sonewad. 






Kankamwar. 


Hatiwar. 






Sed 


ewad. 


Elgandalwad. 






Vimalwaru. 


Surnayaniwaru. 






Challiwirawaru. 


Repalawaru. 






Pac 


liwaru. 


While the gotra names are almost 


all tolemistic, the family names 


are mostly territorial. 


and 


althourfi 


information is wanting as to how 



BURUD 141 

these two systems are reconciled in the regulation of their marriages, 
it is certain that totemism is in full force among the Medares as it is 
among the Burud caste. Each Medare family has its own totem 
in the form of a tree, plant, animal or some other object, which its 
members have to worship at their marriages. Thus, members of 
the Hanmanta gotra pay honour to the pipal tree {Ficus religiosa) at 
their marriages ; members of the Usikula gotra reverence linseed oil ; 
and those of the Nagarsa gotra honour the serpent and abstain from 
eating the snake gourd (Trichosanthes anguina). 

Infant marriage is practised by the caste, although adult marriage 
is still in vo"feue among the Medares of the Adilabad District. A 
price varying in amount from Rs. 6 to Rs. 26, according to the 
social status of the parties, is paid for the bride. The marriage 
ceremony is performed in accordance with the usage current among 
the higher Telugu castes, Kanyadan, or the giving and receiving of 
the bride, being the essential portion of the ceremony. Polygamy is 
permitted, without limit in theory as to the number of wives. Widows 
may marry again and divorce is recognised with the sanction of the 
caste Panchayat, the breaking of a straw symbolising the separation. A 
woman taken in adultery with a low caste member is turned out of 
the caste. 

Religion. — The Medares profess to be orthodox Hindus, being 
divided, like the other Telanga czistes, between Tirmanidharis 
(Vaishnavas) and Vibhutidharis (Shaivas). They regard Malayya of 
Mallikarjuna, a form of Mahadev, as their special deity. Brahmans 
officiate as priests at their marriages and on other ceremonial occasions. 
Pochamma, Mari Amma and Maisamma are among their minor gods, 
whom the members of each household worship on Tuesdays and 
Fridays, with sacrifices of goats and offerings of cooked rice and 
cheese. The dead are burned by Tirmanidharis and buried by 
Vibhutidharis and the ashes and bones of the burnt are collected 
and thrown into a river or under some tree. Jangams officiate at 
the funerals of the Vibhutidharis while the funeral service of 
the Tirmanidharis is conducted by Ayyawars. 

, I Social Status — The social status of the caste is low. It is 
[jlower in Telingana than in Mahai^ishtra. The village servants. 



142 BuRUD 

barbers and washermen, will not defile themselves by working for 
them, and a barber shaving a member of the caste has to bathe 
subsequently. They live on the outskirts of villages and their touch 
is deemed a pollution by members of the higher castes. They eat 
fish and the flesh of swine, fowls and lizards, and drink arrack and 
other liquors. 

MiYADARA, or CaNNADA BuRUDS, are to be found in the 
Camatic districts of the Dominions. They are identical with the 
Telanga Medares, but differentiate from the latter owing to their 
customs and usages having been affected by the new social influences 
to which they are exposed. In the Camatic, Lingayatism.has absorbed 
all rival sects and religions, and Miyadaras are not an exception to 
the general rule. The Miyadaras admit members of the higher castes 
into their community on the performance of a ceremony in which 
a betel leaf -s cut on the tongue of the novice and caste people are 
feasted. Polygamy is permitted ; widows are allowed to marry 
again and divorce is recognised. Infant marriage is customary, and 
the ceremony is modelled upon that prevalent among other Camatic 
castes. In matters of religion they profess to be Shaivayits, but 
worship Venkatramanna as their special deity. Margamma, Dur- 
gamma, Maisamma, Polkamma and Mashamma are among their minor 
gods. Brahmans officiate at their marriages but Jangams are their 
Gurus and are engaged for all other religious and ceremonial 
observances. The dead are buried in a sitting posture. Women 
dying pregnant or in child-birth are burnt. No regular Sradha is 
performed, but caste people are feasted in honour of the deceased 
on the 9th day after death. Their social status is higher than that 
of the Telugu Medares, the village barber shaving them and the 
village washerman washing their clothes. 



XXI 

Chakla or Dhobi 

Dhobi, Chakla, Parit, Agesaru, Warathi, Madiyal, Ramdu — 
the washerman caste of the Telingana, Marathwadi and Carnatic 
Districts. Styled as ' Manjushar,' the washermen, according to 
Manu, are ]jorn of a Vaidehik father and an Ugra mother, and are 
pratilomaja, I.e., born against the hair or grain, viz., in an inverse 
order, the mother being of the higher caste than the father. 

Origin and Internal Structure — Apart from this mythical 
origin, the Dhobis appear to be a functional group formed 
from members of the lower classes, a view which the physical charac- 
teristics of the Dhobis, and their offices as priests to the animistic 
deities, seem to support. They have, however, no traditions respecting 
their origift, nor will their exogamous sections throw any light upon 
this point. Owing to its very wide distribution, the Dhobi caste is 
divided into a very large number of endogamous groups, eighteen of 
which are^ given below. 

Chakla. (10) Ganji Chakla. 

(11) Mota 

(12) Lingayit 

(13) Marathi „ or Parit. 

(14) Handi 
,, (15) Carnatic ,, or Agesaru. 

(16) Barki 

(17) Boya 
(18), Bedar 

These names either refer to the country to which the sub-castes 
belong, or to the castes from which they have sprung. 

(I) Telaga Chakla — represents the Dhobi caste of Telingana. 
The name ' Chakla ' comes from the word ' sakia ' which means 
' service ' in Telugu. j 



(1) 


Telaga 


(2) 


Banthili 


(3) 


Bundeli 


(4) 


Chippa 


(5) 


Waddi 


(6) 


Turka 


(7) 


Lambadi 


(8) 


Arwa 


(9) 


Balija 



144 Chakla or Dhobi 

(2) Chippa Chakla — are the descendants of a Chakla father 
and a Chippa (tailor) mother. 

(3) Turka Chakla — those Dhobis who have joined the ranks 
of Islam. 

(4) Waddi Chakla — of the Waddewar caste, following the 
trade of a washerman. 

(5) Lambadi Chakla — people of the Lambada caste, following 
the Dhobi s trade. 

(6) Balija or Lingayit caste — do not follow the occupation of 
other Dhobis, but wash only rumals (large kerchiefs used as head-gear). 

(7) Agesaru — the Carnatic Chakla, the name gwen to the 
Dhobis in the Carnatic. 

(8) Bundeli Chakla — also called Hindustani Chakla, being 
emigrants from Hindustan. 

(9) Barki Chakla — descendants of a Komti father and a 
Dhobi mother, are found in the Nalgunda District. 

(10) Parit or Marathi Chakla — the name given to the Dhobis 
of the Marathawadi Districts. t 

(11) Waddi Chakla — the lowest class of the Dhobis; they 
wash the clothes of the unclean classes such as the Mahar, Mang, fitc. 

(12) Lingayit Chakla — also called ' Madiyal,' are the descend- 
ants of Madiyal Machaya, who washed the clothes of Basava and 
was one of his favourite disciples. 

Only a few of the exogamous groups into which the caste is 
divided are given below : — 

(1) Gandamala. (5) Padur. 

(2) Singaraj. (6) Bappanna Konker. 

(3) Gondipurla. (7) Vastarla. 

(4) Manipad. (8) Chikori. 

These divisions present no features of special interest. It may, 
however, be remarked that one of them, 'Manipad,' is a sub- 
division of the Erkala caste. Marriages are regulated as by the 
other Telugu castes. The Dhobis say that they have only one goto, 
Jalnul,' which, however, is against the rule of exogamy. 

The Dhobis admit into their community those members of the 
higher castes who have been ei;pelled from their own caste, no 



Chakla or Dhobi 145 

special ceremony being performed on the occasion. It is said that, 
formerly, the Dhobis and the Mangalas belonged to the same caste. 
Once a Mangala went to a Dhobi's house in order to ask the Dhobi's 
daughter in marriage. Nobody, except the girl in question, was in 
the house, and the girl informed the suitor that her parents had gone 
to the reu to wash clothes. The reu means that part of the river 
bank where the shaving operations at funerals are performed. Con- 
sidering this to be an ill omen, the Mangala departed, and since 
then the Mangalas have ceased to intermarry with the Chaklas. 

JMarriage. — Girls are married as infants between the ages of 
5 and 1 2 'years. Boys are usually married between 12 and 20. 
Girls are dedicated to temples, in fulfilment of vows or owing to their 
deformity, if husbands cannot be procured for them. The ceremony 
is as follows. On an auspicious day the girl is dressed in a new 
sari and choli and is taken before the image and wedded to it by a 
Brahman according to the rites. Five rupees are paid to the Brahman 
as his fee. Cohabitation is allowed after marriage even before the 
girl attains puberty. 

The marriage ceremony is the same as is observed by the other 
Telugu castes. It comprises the following rituals : — 

(I) Shastriya A char — 

(a) Lagnam — in which the Brahman priest ties a thread-bracelet 
on the right wrist of the bridegroom and the left wrist of the bride. 
(b) Jilkerbellam — the bridal pair put a mixture of cumin seeds and 
jaggery on each other's heads, (c) Thalwat — throwing turmeric 
coloured rice on each other's heads, (d) Kan^adan — the formal gift 
of the bride by her father to the bridegroom, regarded as the binding 
portion of the marriage ceremony, (e) Padghattan — treading by the 
bridal pair on each other's foot, (f) Pusii — the bridegroom ties an 
auspicious string round the bride's neck, {g) Brahmamudi — the ends 
of the garments of the bridal pair are tied in a knot. 

(II) Deshachar — 

The worship of Pinnamma, Pochamma and Nagulu, whose 
blessings are invoked upon the bridal pair and whose assistance is 
sought to avert any evil influenc('£ in the ceremony. 



146 Chakla or Dhobi 

(III) Stri Achar— 

[a) Kotnam or Ulukhala — pestles, mortars and grindstones 
are worshipped, (b) Aroeni Kundalu — earthen pots are brought from 
the potter's house and placed and worshipped near the household 
gods. 

(IV) Kulachar— 

On the last day, the ceremonies of (a) Nagoeli, (h) Panpm, (c) 
Wappagintha and (d) Wadrbium are performed, whereupon the bride 
is sent to her husband's house. Polygamy is permitted theoretically 
to any extent. d 

Widow=Marriage.. — A widow may marry again, but she cannot 
marry the brother of her deceased husband. The ritual consists of the 
tying of a string of black beads (Mangulsutra) round the neck ci the 
bride by the bridegroom, and the presentation to her of a cocoanut, 
some rice and date-fruits. No Brahman is called in to officiate at 
this ceremony, which is attended by widows alone. 

Divorce — Divorce is allowed if the wife is unchaste, or 
for incompatibility of temper, and is effected by removing the lucky 
string (pusti) from her neck and driving her out of the house. A 
divorced woman may marry again by the same rite as a widow. 
Sexual intercourse with an outsider belonging to a higher caste may 
be tolerated, but that with one of a lower caste involves expulsion. 

Inheritance — The sons inherit by equal shares, no extra share 
being given to the eldest son. Females can inherit in default of any 
male issue. The usage of Chudawand prevails in the caste. 

Religion — In matters of religion, the Chaklas are Saivaits and 
smear their foreheads with sacred ashes (vibhuti). They employ 
Brahmans for religious and ceremonial purposes and call in Jangams 
to officiate at funerals. On Mondays in the month of Sravan (July- 
August), Madiyal Machaya, the supposed founder of the caste, is 
honoured, being represented by a round piece of stone daubed with 
gem (red ochre) and besmeared with holy ashes. In the month of 
Ashadha (June-July), Pochamma and Durgamma are propitiated with 
offerings of goats, &c. 

Disposal of the Dead._l[ie Chaklas bury their dead in a 



Chakla or Dhobj 147 

lying posture with the head towards the south. No Sradha is per- 
formed. On the last day of the month of Bhadrapad, all the ances- 
tors are propitiated, when libations of til water (gingelly) are poured 
and charity is distributed in the name of the manes. On the 3rd of 
the lunar half of Waishakha, the dead aficestors are worshipped in the 
form of earthen pots painted with red and yellow stripes, with offerings 
of sweet dainties, which the worshipper subsequently partakes of. The 
Lingayit Dhobis bury their dead, if married, in a sitting posture 
with the face towards the north. If the dead are unmanied, they are 
buried in a lying posture with the face downwards. Pregnant 
women a:^ ijersons dying of disease, or leprosy, are burnt, in the 
belief that their burial causes drought. 

Social Status — Since the Chakla does not object to wash 
clothes which are considered ceremonially unclean, he is himself 
regarded as being unclean. His social status is therefore very low, 
lower than that of almost all those whose touch is regarded as 
ceremonially unclean. The Chaklas decline to wash for barbers, since 
the latter do not hold torches at their weddings. The Chaklas eat 
mutton, pork, the flesh of fowl and cloven-footed animals and are 
strongly addicted to drink. They also eat the leavings of the higher 
caste people. 

Occupation. — Washing clothes has been the traditional occu- 
pation of the caste and to this they still adhere. This is due to the 
large demand which all classes have for their services. The village 
Chakla is paid for his services in grain, the quantity of which, for 
every plough in the village, is fixed. This is called haluta. Dhobis 
plying their trade in towns are paid in cash. 

Their mode of washing clothes is as follows : — First the clothes 
are rinsed in water and beaten. They are then cleansed with fuller's 
earth and steamed in earthen vessels, After they are all thoroughly 
steamed, they are again cleansed with soap and washed with cold 
water in a river or tank. They are then steeped in rice starch 
and dried. Finally they are ironed and folded. Flannel or silk 
clothes are not steamed, but only cleansed with warm soapsuds and 
then washed with cold water. 'i 

in the worship of the minor, village gods, the Dhobi acts as^a 



148 Chakla or Dhobi 

priest and receives, as his perquisite, the offerings, or a part of the 
offerings, made to the deities. The Dhobi is also useful in the 
marriage ceremony, in which he shares the presents with the barber. 
Some of the Chaklas have taken to agriculture. Some manufacture 
lime and let donkeys for hire. A few have adopted respectable pro- 
fessions and are Goverrunent clerks. 



XXII 

Chanchu 

Chanchu, Chanchukulam, Chanchalwad — a non-Aryan tribe 
dwelling in the hilly tracts which run parallel to the Kistna river and 
form the southern boundary of the Hyderabad Dominions. They 
are a well-built race, shorter than the neighbouring Hindus, with com- 
plexions varying from dark brown to black and rather coarse and 
frizzly hair. Their physical characteristics are high and prominent 
cheek bones, broad noses with spreading nostrils, and black and 
piercing eyes. 

Customs and Manners — The habits of the tribe are of the 
most primitive character. The men are almost nude, wearing merely 
a piece of cloth round their loins, while the more savage members 
of the* tribe are said to cover their nakedness with aprons made of 
leaves. They make clearings in the forest and live in bee-hive 
shaped huts. They are still in a half savage state and are engaged 
as watchmen and guides in the mountain passes. They speak Telugu 
with a peculiar intonation. 

Origin Regarding their origin, they have a tradition which 

states that their first ancestor had seven sons and one daughter. 
From the sons sprang seven forest tribes, one of them being the 
Chanchus. The daughter was given in marriage to the god Krishna 
and had a son by the deity, who became the progenitor of the 
Krishna Chanchus. 

Internal Structure — The Chanchus ate divided into four 
endogamous groups : (1) Telugu Chanchus, (2) Adavi Chanchus, (3) 
Krishna Chanchus, and (4) Bonta Chanchus. The Telugu Chanchus 
and Krishna Chanchus are beggars, and collect alms by dancing and 
singing songs before the Hindus of the plains. The chief distinc- 
tion between the two is that, while the former beg by blowing a 
long horn, the latter obtain alrrs by ringing bells and playing on a 



150 Chanchu 

bamboo flute. Both these sub-castes live by hunting as well. 
When begging, the Krishna Chanchus wear crowns of peacock 
feathers and garlands of beads. The Adavi Chanchus form the 
savage portion of the tribe and are to be found in large numbers in the 
neighbourhood of Shri Shailya on the river Kistna. They are 
confined to the secluded parts of the forest clad hills and obtain their 
living by hunting deer, wild hog and hare with their bamboo bows 
and arrows. Some of them visit the villages of the plains and live 
in patch-work tents, which explains their name Bonta Chanchus. 
They bring for sale bamboo seed and bamboo flutes, which they 
barter for grain to the villagers. ^' 

The information regarding the exogamous system of the tribe 
is rather incomplete. The section names appear to be partly 
totemislic and partly territorial. The following specimens may serve 
as an illustration : — 

Nalabotawaru. Manulawaru. 

Myakalawaru. Gogulawaru. 

Avlawaru. Maripallipapdi. 

Kudumuduwadlu. Jalamuttadu 

Waregallingu. Kanyabainodu. 

A man may not marry a woman of his own section ; but he may marry 
tlie daughters of his maternal uncle, paternal aunt or sister. 

Marriage — Chanchu girls are married after they have attained 
the age of puberty, and free courtship is said to prevail among them. 
Infant marriages, however, are not entirely unknown though, as a 
general rule, they are practised only by those who have come into 
contact with the Hindus of the plains. Girls are occasionally forcibly 
carried away and married. Sexual license before marriage is tolerated, 
and if a girl becomes pregnant her lover is required to marry her; if, 
however, he declines to do so she is married to some other man, 
provided that the rule of exogamy is carefully observed in the 
previous liaison as well as in the subsequent marriage. The marriage 
ceremony is a simple one. The bridegroom's father proposes for the 
girl and, if his offer is accepted,; the wedding day is fixed and a 
hundred and one peacock feathers are delivered as the bride-price. 



Chanchu 151 

The bride is brought by her friends and relations to the bridegroom's 
house, where both the bride and bridegroom are dressed in white and 
seated opposite to each other, while the intervening space is filled by 
drummers who beat the tribal drums in honour of the occasion. A 
great deal of drinking and dancing follows, after which the bride- 
groom ties a string of black beads round the bride's neck. The bridal 
pair then retire into a separate hut to consummate their union. The 
bridegroom first re-appears, and after him the bride ; the pair are then 
greeted by the company as husband and wife. 

Widow=Marriage — A widow may marry again, but she is not 
expected t« marry her late husband's younger or elder brother. No 
special ritual is ordained for the marriage of a widow. The bride- 
groom brings the widow to his house and provides a feast for his 
tribal brethren. 

Divorce. — Divorce is permitted for adultery and a divorced 
woman is allowed to marry again. 

Religion — The favourite deity of the Chanchus is Ganga, repre- 
sented by a small stone set up under a tamarind tree outside the 
village. A sheep is sacrificed to the deity, one of its legs is suspended 
from the tree and the rest of the carcase is taken by the votaries. The 
deity is worshipped only once a year. The Chanchus firmly believe 
in evil spirits and ascribe every sickness or calamity to their malevolent 
action. Brahmans have not yet been introduced and all religious 
functions are discharged by a member of the tribe. 

Disposal of the Dead — The dead are buried in a lying pos- 
ture with the head to the south and the face downwards. Mourning 
is observed for 10 days. On the 1 0th day after death a goat is 
sacrificed, the flesh is offered at the grave and, after it has been 
touched by a crow, the mourners bathe, drink liquor and return home. 
No Sradha is performed nor are any funeral rites observed afterwards. 

Social Status. — The social rank of the tribe cannot be precisely 
stated. They are still beyond the pale of Hinduism. No castes, 
except Malas and Madigas, will eat from their hands. The influence 
of the great Hindu sects has already reached them and they are 
divided into Tirmanidharis and Vibhutidharis. These will not accept 
food from the hands of Mangalas,? Chaklas and the lowest unclean 



152 Chanchu 

classes. They eat the flesh of goats, swine, fowl, field rats, mice 
and jackals, and drink liquor distilled from the flowers of the mahua 
{Bassia latijolia). 

Occupation — The wildest of the Chanchus subsist by hunting 
and also live on forest produce and roots. Their weapons are a 
bamboo bow and reed arrow tipped with iron. They collect honey, 
tamarind, wood apples, mahua flowers and herbs, which they barter 
for grain and cloth. Those who are settled on the outskirts of 
villages earn a livelihood by guarding the crops and cattle of the 
village farmers. A few only have taken to cultivation. 



XXIII 
Darji 

Darji, Simpi, Meerolu, Chipollu — the tailor caste of the 
Hyderabad Dominions — descended, according to ancient authorities, 
from a Sudra father and a Bhanda mother. Some trace their origin 
to Chaun^aka Devi, the patron goddess of the Devanga Koshtis ; 
but the caste clearly appears to be a functional group, recruited from 
among the respectable members of Hindu society. 

Internal Structure — The Darjis are divided into five sub-castes. 
Namdeva Darji, Lingayit Darji, Marwadi Darji, Jain Darji, and 
Jingar Darji. The last three divisions indicate the castes from which 
they are formed, and have been treated in separate articles. The 
Lingayit Darjis v^fere originally members of the Darji caste who were 
converted to Lingayitism after its foundation by Basava. They are 
mostly to be found in the Carnatic Districts and have entirely con- 
formed to the customs and usages of the sect. The Namdeva Darjis 
claim their descent from the great Maratha saint Namdeva, who 
sprang from a shimpa (shell) found by his mother Gonai in the Bhima 
or Chandrabhaga river. They include two classes, Telugu Chippolu 
and Maratha Shimpi, based upon territorial distinctions. The name 
' Chippollu ' is derived from the Telugu word chimpi meaning " to 
cut ' and refers to their occupation of cutting clothes. In physical 
characteristics, the Namdeva Darjis appear to be originally of Telugu 
or Dravidian origin and to have, in later times, spread over the 
Maratha country. The Namdeva Darjis have a double set of exo- 
gamous groups, the one consisting of gotras and the other of family 
names. A close examination of their gotra system lends support to 
the theory of their mixed origin. 

The gotra system appears to be ornamental and the regulation 

of marriage is based upon family names. The marriage of persons 

■belonging to the same section is prohibited. A man may marry the 



154 Darji 

daughter of his maternal uncle or elder sister. Two sisters may be 
married to the same man, but two brothers cannot marry two sisters. 
Namdeva Darjis marry their daughters as infants between the ages 
of 5 and 10 years. A bride-price of Rs. 20 to Rs. 30 is paid to 
the parents of the girl. Polygamy is permitted, but rarely practised 
on a large scale. 

Marriage — The marriage ceremony is of the standard type and 
includes : — 

(1) Choti Mangani — at which certain people, on behalf of the 
bridegroom, go formally to the house of the girl and present her with a 
sari, a choir and some sweetmeat. The gods Ganpati ap.d Waruna 
are next worshipped by a Brahman priest, whereupon the girl dons 
the garments presented to her. 

(2) Badi Mangani or betrothal — ornaments such as anklets, 
bracelets and a nose-ring are ceremonially placed on the girl's body by 
the boy's people. 

(3) The worship of Pochamma, or the smallpox deity — after an 
auspicious day has been fixed for the wedding, some married women, 
bearing water jars on their heads, others carrying flowers, betel-leaves 
and areca-nuts and some men taking a goat and liquor, proceed to 
the temple of the goddess, situated generally outside the village. 
The goat is sacrificed, its head and one leg with some of the liquor 
being placed before the goddess. The goddess is then worshipped 
and the bride's wedding clothes, dyed with turmeric, are put on her. 
The clothes are then taken off and the company return home. The 
flesh of the sacrificed animal and the liquor provide the feast for the 
day. The same ceremony is separately performed at the bridegroom's 
house. 

(4) Deoak installation— twigs of the salai {Boswellia thurijera) 
and shami (Prosopis spicigera) trees and 9 new earthen vessels are 
brought by married women to the marriage booth, accompanied by 
tom-toms and music. Two of the pots are buried, with their mouths 
open, near the sacred salai post, to which are tied the twigs of the 
salai and shami. This is called Devak. One earthen pot is tied to 
another post of the pandal, and covered with an oil lamp. 

(5) Bir Procession— two m^n belonging to the bridegroom's 



Darji 155 

section, each dressed to the waist in women's clothes, and grasping 
in his right hand a sword and in his left a bhande, are taken in 
procession to the temple of Maruti, before whom the bhandes are 
placed. The procession then returns home. This ceremony is 
separately performed at the bride's house also. 

An earthen platform having been erected beneath the marriage 
booth, the bridegroom, at the auspicious moment, is escorted on 
horseback to the bride's house. On his arrival, the women of each 
party amuse themselves by throwing coloured water and cotton seed 
at one another. The actual ceremony corresponds in every respect 
to that in vRgue among all the Telugu castes. This is followed by 
Kanyadan (the formal gift of the bride and his formal acceptance of her 
by the bridegroom) and Kard^an Bandhanam, or the lying to the 
wrists of the bridal pair of yellow bracelets, made of five threads in 
the case of the bridegroom and four in the case of the bride, with 
a piece of turmeric and a betel-leaf fastened to each. The Brahman 
then, on behalf of the husband, places a ring on the bride's finger 
and ties the lucky thread of small black beads around her nect 
On the third day the Jhenda, also called Dhenda or Dand^a, and 
Nagbali take place. The caste people are entertained with a feast 
every day. The last ceremony is that of Mahadeoachi Gadi Pujan, 
or the adoration of the god Mahadeva's seat. On the earthen plat- 
form is placed a bullock's saddle, which is covered with a white 
cloth. A square of rice is then formed and a water pot is placed 
over it and worshipped. All the people present then stand when 
Arti (the great God's hymn) is recited in union, 25 areca nuts are 
placed by each person present before the seat, and the ceremony 
terminates. The tying of mangalsutra forms the essential portion of 
the ritual. This form of marriage ceremony is also observed by 
those settled in the Maratha country. In Telingana it differs slightly, 
but closely conesponds to that in vogue among other Telugu castes 
of about the same social standing. 

Widow=Marriage — A widow is permitted to marry again, but 
not the younger brother of her late husband. The ceremony is as 
follows. In the darkness of the night, the bridegroom, sword in 
hand, goes to Maruti's temple, places areca nuts and betel leaves 



156 Darji 

before the god, and proceeds thence to the bride's house. There 
he removes with the sword an areca nut placed on a wooden stool, 
which he then occupies. The bride joins him and sits by his side. 
With their clothes knotted together they salute the family gods and 
elderly persons. Caste people are entertained at a feast cind the 
ceremony ends. 

Divorce — Divorce is permitted, divorced women being allowed 
to re-marry by the same rites as widows. 

Religion — The Namdeva Darjis belong both to the Vaishnava 
and Saiva sects. Their special deity is Chaundika, worshipped on 
Ganesh Chouth with offerings of sweetmeat, flesh aijd win^-, the 
offerings being eaten by the votciries. On the same dciy they honour 
the implements of their craft. They pay reverence to all the gods 
of the Hindu pantheon. Brahmans are engaged on religious and 
ceremonial occasions. 

Disposal of the Dead— The Shaivas bury their dead in a 
sittmg posture, with the face towards the east. A Jangam performs 
the funeral rites and, after the grave is filled, stands on it and blows 
a conch. He is then induced to leave the place with presfents, and by 
doing so indicates that the soul of the dead has obtained absolution. 
The Vaishnawas carry the dead body, bathed and clothed in white, 
and burn it on a pyre with its head towards the south. Mourning is 10 
days for a married adult and 3 for unmarried adults and children. 
The ashes are collected and thrown into the waters of the Ganges, 
if possible, or into the nearest river. On the 10th day after death, 
the caste people are fed, and the ptrincipal mourner performs 
kshoura, i.e., he shaves his head and moustache. Sradha is 
celebrated each month during the first year. Ancestors in general 
are propitiated in the months of Vaishakha and Bhadrapad. 

Social Status — Socially, the caste stands below the Kapus and 
above the Mangalas (barbers) and Chaklas (washermen). They eat 
mutton, fowl and fish, and indulge in strong drinks. The original 
occupation of the caste is tailoring, to which they still cling, and only 
a few of them have taken to agriculture and other pursuits. Their 
women help them in their work. 



XXIV 

Dasri 

Dasri — a class of Vaishnawa beggars, taking their name from the 
word ' Dasa ' or ' servant of god.' They were originally recruited 
from the Telugu castes and comprise several endogamous groups, the 
principal among which are : — 

(1) BuWca Dasri. (6) Chinna Dasri. 

(2) Paga Dasri. (7) Kangyadulu Dasri. 

(3) Dande Dasri. (8) Mala Dasri. 

(4) Bhagwat or Bhutte Dasri. (9) Hole Dasri. 

(5) Kunchaloya or Telaga Dasri. (10) Chanchu Dasri. 
Bukka Dasris, also called Kunkum Dasris, are perfumers, and 

prepare and deal in ^un/ju (a mixture of turmeric and safflower), 
udhatti (pastils), surma (antimony) and other aromatics and perfumes. 
Dande Dasris, or Pusalwads, add the selling of glass beads to their 
occupation of begging. Their traditions say that they were originally 
engaged as palanquin bearers for their gurus, talacharis of Kanchi. 
Pleased with their devotion, one of the gurus presented their first 
ancestor with a danda, i.e., the pole with which a palanquin is 
lifted, to be used as the badge of their mendicancy. They were 
also furnished with talam (cymbals), tambora (a sort of Indian violin), 
sharikha (conch), ghanta (bell) and dioa (lampstand). When begging 
they generally form a party of three. The lampstand is placed on the 
ground and two of the party dance around it, one of them blowing 
the conch and the other ringing the bell, while the third sings songs 
in praise of Vishnu to the music of the tambora ending each couplet 
with the words ' Govinda, Govinda.' On Saturdays, they dance 
with lighted torches in their hands. Sometimes they solicit alms, 
taking on their shoulders \aodis, which contain images of Vishnu, 
conches, shaligram stones, rudraksha, and other sacred objects, which 
they sell to the pious. In this capacify they are called ' Kasi Kavdis ' 



158 Dasri 

(bearers of ko^odis from Kasi). Occasionally they appear in the 
disguise of Northern India Bairagis and try to act up to their disguise, 
immitating the Bairagis in language and manners. Their women 
make baskets of palmyra leaves and sell medicinal drugs. The 
Bhagwat, or Bhutte Dasris, are low-caste wandering beggars, who 
obtain alms by performing a ' Bhagwat ' dance. A man is dressed 
in female clothes, wearing tightly the sari and the choli, and carrying 
a string of jingling bells around each leg immediately above the ankle. 
Garlands of wooden beads are also worn round the neck and gilded 
ornaments of wood on the head. Thus attired, the man dances before 
an audience to the music of the mridanga (drum) and tcls (cymbals). 
Some of them trade in small needles and glass beads and are, on that 
account, called Bhutte Dasris or Pusalwads : they are watched by the 
police as criminals. The Hole Dasris seem to have connection with 
the ' Holers ' of the Carnatic and the Mala Dasris with the Mala 
caste of Telingana. The Chanchu Dasris, or Krishna Chanchus, are 
drawn from the Chanchu tribe. The information regarding other 
groups is imperfect. 

Internal Structure — The Dasris are divided into a number of 
exogamous sections. A few of these are shown below : — 
Yerlondalu. Gawiwaru. Anagondiwaru, 

Kavatiwaru. Aditondalu. Rawalwaru. 

Anagalundalu. Amnaboyaniwaru. Battondalu. 

Bumalawaru. Adiwaru. Poshetiwaru. 

Foyaniwaru. Podilawaru. Poyaniwaru. 

Marriage within the section is prohibited. Two sisters may be 
married by the same man or by two uterine brothers. A man may 
marry the daughter of his mother's brother, his father's sister or his 
elder sister. Outsiders are admitted by them into their community, 
provided that they are Vaishnawas in creed. No special ceremony 
is ordained for the occasion, except that the tongue of the novice is 
branded with hot gold. 

Marriage — Dasri girls are married both as infants and as 
adults. In the case of infant marriage, the girl is not sent to her 
husband's house until she is tvyelve years old when, on being pre- 
sented with a white sari by her parents, she goes to live with her 



Dasri 159 

husband. Among some Dasris, the husband remains with his wife at 
her father's house until she has become the mother of one child. 
Sexual intercourse before marriage is tolerated, but if a girl becomes 
pregnant her paramour is compelled to marry her. The ceremony 
is of the type in practice among other Telugu castes, and includes : — 
Vadi^am — at which pan (betel-leaves) and areca nuts are dis- 
tributed among the castemen and the sar-panch, who is called 
gudi gadi, receives 12 betel-leaves and 12 nuts. 
Parthanam — the bride is presented with ornaments and a ring, and is 

brought to the bridegroom's house for marriage. 
Lagnam — tRe bride and bridegroom, with their foreheads adorned 
with bashings, are seated in the booth and their garments are 
fastened in a knot. The bridegroom ties pusti round her neck 
and places silver rings on her toes. 
Vatanamdalna — in this, dandi, talam and darati, the musical 
instruments of their profession, are placed in the bridegroom's 
hands, and the bride sows seeds. 
YataWandu — in which a feast consisting of cooked meat is provided 
for caste brethren. 

The marriage ceremony is conducted without the help of a 
Brahman. The bride's parents take Rs. 80 as a price for their 
daughter. The bridegroom's parents have also to undergo all the 
marriage expenses. 

Widow=Marriage — Widow-marriage is permitted, but a widow 
cannot marry the brother of her deceased husband. Her parents 
receive Rs. 40, i.e., half the price paid for her as a virgin, and the 
castemen present on the occasion are feasted. 

If a woman commits adultery with a member of the caste, the 
latter is required to pay Rs. 80 to her husband and Rs. 40 as fine 
to the caste Panchayat, by whom he is compelled to marry her. A 
woman committing adultery with a man of a higher caste is out- 
casted and re-admitted only on payment of a fine of Rs. 10. She is 
allowed to marry again by the same rites as widows. Sexual 
licence on the part of a woman with a man of a lower caste incurs 
instant expulsion from the caste. A man committing adultery with 
a lower caste woman is also outcasted, and re-admitted only on 



160 Dasri 

paying a fine and having his forehead marked with sutak-namam, or 
two parallel lines of ochre, drawn to the roots of the hail and 
connected by a transverse line at the root of the nose. The distinction 
between these, and the ordinary Dasris, is that the latter have a red 
line running between the parallel ones. 

Inheritance The Dasris follow the Hindu law of inheritance. 

If a man dies without any male issue his son-in-law inherits the 
property. 

Religion The Dasris are all Tirmanidharis or Vaishnawas by 

faith. They believe in charms, sorcery, etc. Animistic deities, such 
as Pochamma and Eliamma, are appeased in the month p{ Shrawan 
with offerings of sheep and fowls. The goddess Pocharrima is repre- 
sented by a jar of water containing nim leaves (Melia indica) and 
covered with a lighted lamp. After this water has been worshipped 
it is thrown into pure water. This worship is designated Bonal by the 
members of the caste. Brahmans are not employed either for cere- 
monial or for religious purposes. Ayyawars or Satanis officiate as 
their gurus (spiritual advisers). 

Disposal of the Dead — The dead are buried in a lying 
posture, with the head to the south. The corpse is borne to the 
grave in a sitting posture if married and in a lying posture if 
unmarried. A wheel (c/ia^ra) made of bamboo is carried to the 
grave along with the dead body of a married person and left on the 
bier when the corpse is consigned to the earth. On the 3rd day 
after death a square space is prepared on the ground before the 
grave, and the wheel, which is supposed to represent the dead person, 
is placed on the spot and worshipped with offerings of goats and 
fowls. The wheel is then buried in the earth and the flesh of the 
sacrificed animals is cooked by a Satani, who attends at the funeral. 
The mourners partake of the food and return home. 

Occupation — The Dasris collect alms, in an alms-basket known 
as bura-ka})a. Some of them catch fish, by angling, iguanas 
(ghodpod), with nooses, and pigeons with birdlime. A few have of 
late taken to agriculture and are pattedars. 

Social Status—The social status of the Dasris differs for 
different sub-castes. The highbst rank is claimed by the Bukka 



Dasri 161 

Dasris, next to them come the Dande Dasris, while the Bhagwat 
and Hole Dasris are grouped among the lowest unclean classes. 
They eat mutton, pork, fowls, fish, the flesh of crocodiles, lizards, 
jackals, and jungle rats, and drink spirits. They eat from the hands 
of all castes except Dhers, Mangs, Dhobis and Mangalas. Malas 
and Madigas alone accept ^ac/ir from them. 

They have a caste Panchasat, the head man of which is called 
gudi gadi. This designatory has an assistant styled kundi gadi, 
who is responsible for cMrying into force the orders of his chief. 
The Dasris seldom go to law, but refer their disputes to their 
Panchm^ai, "and if any member disobeys he is put out of the caste. 



XXV 

Devanga 

Devanga, Devangalu, Devra, Jyandra, Koshti, Devanga Sale, 
Myatari — a widely diffused caste of weavers found in every 
part of the Hyderabad Dominions. ' Devanga ' is a Sanskrit word 
whicfi means ' body of the gods ' and is applied to this ^aste since it 
claims to be descended from one Devanga Rishi, who'' was created 
by the god Mahadeva for the purpose of weaving clothes for gods 
and men. The thread was obtained from the lotus which sprang 
from Vishnu's navel. Probably of Carnatic origin, the Devangas 
are now found scattered ail over Maharashtra and Telingana. 

Internal Structure — The Devangas are divided into three sub- 
castes : (I) Devanga, (2) Hatgar and (3) Kodeku! ; the Hatgars 
claim social precedence over the other two divisions. 'They are 
Ling'ayits by creed and are described in the article on Lingayits 
The first of these sub-castes is broken up into three territorial groups, 

(1) Telugu Devangas, (2) Carnatic Devangas and (3) Maratha 
Koshtis, who speak Marathi and have adopted the section names and 
manners of the Maratha Kunbis. Two other branches seem to have 
sprung from the Devangas, oiz : (1) Kurvina Shetti or Bili Magu and 

(2) Kumi Sales or Jyandra, the latter of whom do not castrate 
their bulls. 

The caste is said to have, in Telingana, sixty-four exogamous 
sections. As stated above, the section names of the Maratha 
Devangas are the same as those of the Maratha Kunbis. Specimens 
of both the systems are shown below : — 

Maratha Sections 

Pandker. Bhandare. Doifode. 

Asolker. Bharate. Takale. 

Gosale. Tadpuruk. Tawalsing. 

Khatavaker. Kharge. Upre. 



Devanga 



163 



Maratha Sections — contd. 

Kumtekar. Golre. Tigule. 

Taralker. Galande. Navale. 

Redeker. Latane. Narake. 

Burzare. Dhotre. Kharshe. 

Chinke. Mehtre. Falke. 

Ghate. Mahader. Varole. 

Gugle. Dindker. Munekar. 

Fase. Bhairat. Dhage. 

^ Telugu Sections 

Gopwaru. Patwaru. Natuwaru. 

Matekawaru. Madtalwaru. Govariwaru. 

Palliwaru. Tamtuwaru. Parmalwaru. 

Konapatriwaru. Katamwaru. Yemalawaru. 

Marriage. — Marriage is forbidden between persons belonging 
to the same section. Two sisters may be married to the same man or 
to uterine brothers. A man may marry the daughter of his elder sister. 

The Devangas marry their girls as infants and recognise polygamy 
and, in theory at least, impose no limitation on the number of wives 
a man may have. 

In the Carnatic and Telingana, the marriage ceremony closely 
corresponds to that m use among other local castes of the same 
social standing. The aoali, or bride-price, amounts to Rs. 30. In 
Maharashtra the price paid for a bride to her parents varies from 
Rs. 50 to Rs. 100 and the wedding ceremony is of the standard 
type current among the Marathas, of which the essential portion is 
Antctrpat, which consists of making the couple stand opposite to 
each other in bamboo baskets, holding a curtain between them, 
and the wedding of them by the recital of mantras and the throwing of 
rice over their heads. 

Widow=Marriage A widow is allowed to re-marry, but not 

her husband's brothers. The bride, in Telingana, is presented with 
a new sari and choli, and Rs. I J4 to buy bangles ; at night she is 
taken to the matha, where the mathpati ties pusti round her neck in 
the presence of the bridegroom, who is seated by her side. Castemen 



164 Devanga 

are then feasted. In the morning the bride and bridegroom go to 
some temple and return in the evening. Maratha Devangas engage 
Brahmans for the performance of this ceremony. The bridegroom 
goes at night, sword in hand to the bride's house, with a following 
of friends. The couple, having been bathed, are seated side by side, 
their heads brought in contact by the officiating Brahman and their 
garments tied in a knot. 

Divorce — A woman is divorced for adultery and driven out 
of the house before the members of the caste Panchagat. She is 
allowed to re-marry by the same rite as a widow. 

Inheritance — In the division of propyerty the Devafigas follow 
the Hindu law of inheritance. They give an extra share to the 
eldest son in the division of his father's prof>erty. 

Religion — The religion of the Devangas is orthodox Hinduism. 
In Telingana, they are divided into Tirmanidharis and Vibhuti- 
dhju-is. In the Carnatic, they are mostly Lingayits, males and females 
worshipping the lingam, to which they daily offer food of which they 
afterwards partake. Their favourite deity is Chaundamma, or 
Choundeshwari, worshipped on the full moon and new moon days 
with offerings of sweetmeats, especially by women who observe a 
fast for the whole day. Sheep and goats are sacrificed to the goddess 
by Maratha Devangas at the Dassera festival, or the 10th of the light 
half of Aswin (October) : on the same day they honour the imple- 
ments of their craft. They reverence all the gods of the Hindu pan- 
theon, observe religious festivals and make pilgrimages to sacred 
places. Among their minor gods are Pochamma, Maisamma, Mari 
Ai, and Nagalu, who are appeased with a variety of offerings in 
times of sickness and epidemics. 

Disposal of the Dead — The dead are usually buried, but are 
occasionally burnt, and are carried to the grave or pyre attended 
with music. Lingayit Devangas bury their dead in a sitting posture, 
with the face pointing to the east. Mourning is observed ten days 
for the married and three days for others. Sradha is performed on 
the 12th day after death. Ancestors in general are propitiated on 
Akshattriti^a, or the 3rd of the light half of Vaishakha, and on the 
Pitra AmaWasya, or the last day of Bhadrapad (October). 



Devanga 165 

Social Status — In point of social status, the Devangas rank 
below the agricultural and shepherd castes, but above the Gandlas, 
or Telis, Mangals and Chaklas. They eat fowl, fish, pork and 
mutton and drink alcohol. Some of them, aspiring to a higher 
social status, abstain from liquor. 

Occupa)tian.— Weaving is the traditional occupation of the 
caste. They make a variety of textile fabrics but chiefly saris, or 
garments worn by women. Some of them have relinquished their 
original occupation and taken to trade, agriculture, carpentry and 
masonry. 



XXVI 
Dhangar 

Origin. — Dhangar — the shepherd and blanket- weaver caste of 
the Marathawada, which comprises the Districts of Aurangabad, Bir, 
Parbhani, Nander, Bidar, Usmanabad and a portion of Adilabad. 
The name ' Dhangar ' is derived by some from the Scfnskrit word 
' Dhenugar ' meaning ' cow-keeper'; but the etymology seems rather 
fictitious, for the Dhangars have never been known to tend cows. 
On the other hand, as shepherds, they form a distinct caste from the 
Gaulis, who tend cows and other milch cattle. The Dhangars have 
no traditions which will throw light upon their origin. In physical 
character and customs they resemble the Maratha Kunbis, which 
suggests that they are formed from them. 

Internal Structure — The caste is divided into the following 
endogamous divisions : Khute Dhangars, Bargi or Hatker Dhangars 
and Jhade Dhangars. The Khute Dhangars are said to have received 
their name from \hutes, or the pegs by means of which they weave 
blankets. Bargi or Hatker Dhangars are described in a separate 
article. Jhade Dhangars are found in the Adilabad District. The 
origin of the name ' Jhade ' is obscure, but the word is a general 
term applied to other castes, such as Jhade Brahmans. The members 
of these sub-castes interdine, but do not intermarry. 

The exogamous divisions of the caste are of the Maratha type, 
as illustrated below : — 



Urade. 


Korde. 


Rode. 


Bagde. 


Khodpe. 


Latne. 


Kanade. 


Bhand. 


Kare. 


Harke. 


Chormare. 


Bomble. 


Pode. 


Pitale. 


Barde. 


Mirge. 


Gore. 


Dandwate. 


Shirgiri. 


Dhole. 


Nirali. 


Hatkavde. 


Kerwad. 


Sote. 


Gonde. 


Dukre. 


' Nikande. 


Kale. 



Dhangar 167 

Marriage in one's own section, as well as in one's maternal aunt's 
section, is avoided. A man may marry two sisters, and two brothers 
may also marry two sisters. Adoption is restricted to the members 
of one's own section. Outsiders are not admitted into the caste : 
a socially degraded man is re-admitted on payment of a fine. 

Marriage — Girls are married both as infants and as adults, but 
the former practice is deemed the more respectable. Boys, but not 
girls, are dedicated to gods or temples. A girl is sent to her husband's 
house immediately after marriage, when presents of a goat and money 
are made to her. Cohabitation before puberty is tolerated. Un- 
married meg wishing to marry widows, are first wedded to a ring, 
all the cereflionies of a marriage being performed on the occasion. 
Polygamy is permitted, but is rarely practised on a large scale. 

The marriage ceremony of the Khute and Khutaphale Dhan- 
gars corresponds to that of the Maratha Kunbis. The marriage of 
the Jhade Dhangars is celebrated at night and opens with the Mangani 
rite (betrothal), in which the boy's father goes to the girl's house 
and marks her forehead with a spot of red aniline powder and 
presents h'er with a cocoanilt. Mothawida follows, in which two 
wooden stools are placed side by side in the court-yard of the house, 
covered with white cloth and decorated with designs of \unkum. 
The girl and her maternal uncle are seated on them and the bride- 
groom's father presents to her a sari, a choli, betel-leaves, areca nuts, 
and dates. Previous to the marriage, Mari Ai or Angana Devi is 
worshipped by sacrificing a goat to her, and a feast is provided in her 
name. At night the gondhal dance is performed in the name of the 
goddess Bhavani. A marriage booth is erected and a post, called 
mundha, made of salai (BosWeUia thmijera), is planted to 
the right of the entrance. Twelve earthen pots are brought 
from the potter's house and two of these are filled with 
water and placed near the mundha. The bridegroom is 
bathed and is seated within a square formed by five earthen pots 
encircled with white wool. This wool is subsequently removed and 
fastened on the right wrist of the bridegroom. The same ritual is 
separately performed by the bride's party also. Then follow, m 
order, the worship of the village and patron deities, the carrying of 



168 Dhangar 

the bride enveloped in a blanket to the bridegroom's village, the 
adoration by the bridegroom in the temple of the village Maruti 
and, lastly, the wedding rite. The marriage dress consists of 
garments dyed yellow in turmeric water, which had been previously 
offered to the goddess. Just after the wedding, the pair are taken 
by the Brahman priest to the earthen platform built under the booth 
and seated thereon opposite each other, with a brass dish between 
them. The Brahman ties their garments into a knot and the couple 
exchange garlands of mock corals. After this, each parson present 
waves a copper or silver coin, according to his means, round the 
faces of the newly wedded couple and throws it into the ''dish. This 
ceremony is called Sulagna. On the third day after the wedding, 
Dand\)a is celebrated. A bride-price to the amount of Rs. 9 or 
Rs. 10 is paid to the girl's parents. Among the Khute Dhangars, 
a curious ceremony, called the Bir procession, is performed on the 
haldi day. A man, possessed by a bir (spirit of an ancestor) fastens 
round his waist all the images of the ancestors belonging to both the 
parties to be \s'edded ; saris (female garments) are tied crosswise 
across his breast and one shoulder. In one hand he takes a stick 
and in the other a winnowing fan. He makes frantic gestures and 
starts running, preceded by five men facing him and striking on the 
fan with canes in their hands. The moment he reaches the temple 
of Biroba, he lies prostrate on the blanket spread for the occasion. 
Incense is burnt before him, whereupon he recovers himself, gets up 
and returns home followed by all the men. 

Widow=Marriage — Widows are allowed to marry again, the 
ceremony of widow-marriage closely resembling that in vogue 
among the Maratha Kunbis. Brahmans are not engaged as priest j. 
Among the Jhade Dangars, a widow bride is more valued than a 
virgin and a bride-price ranging from Rs. 25 to Rs. 200 is required 
to be paid to her parents. Divorce is pemiitted in cases of adultay. 
The Hindu law of inheritance is observed by the caste. 

Religion — Khandoba is the favourite god of the caste and 
I's worshipped every Sunday and on Sat (the light sixth of Marga- 
shirsha) day, with offerings of sweetmeats. The implements of their 
craft— scissors, ^eda, lavaki, nat and tulai—aie also revered on 



Dhangar 169 

Sat. Vithoba of Pandharpur is worshipped daily in every household. 
The Adilabad Dhangars worship Khudban, in the form of a 
wooden image bedaubed with vermilion. Other gods of the Hindu 
pantheon are also reverenced by members of the caste. Ancestral 
worship prevails, and no marriage is celebrated until those who have 
died in the family since the last marriage are installed as gods in the 
form of embossed plates. If any member of a Jhade Dhangar family 
is killed by a tiger, he is worshipped as Waghoba in the form of a 
stone set up on the boundary of the village. 

Child=Birth — A woman after child-birth is ceremonially impure 
for severf^days. The child is named on the 12th day after birth 
and on the 15th day the goddess Satwai is propitiated. At the 
Divali festival, sheep are worshipped by the caste. 

Disposal of the Dead — The married dead are burnt and the 
unmarried are buried, with the head to the south. Mourning is 
observed for three days. Among the Jhade Dhangars of Adilabad 
the dead body is washed, taken outside the house and offered cooked 
food. _When the funeral pyre is well ablaze, the coffin bearers and 
other mourners bathe, go to a liquor shop and, crushing mahua flowers 
{Bassia latifoUa) with their feet, drink liquor and return to the house 
of the dead. Next day the mourners, men and women, go to the 
cremation ground, taking with them one winnowing fan, three pieces 
of bread and one earthen pot. They collect the ashes and bones with 
the winnowing fan and throw them into the nearest river or brook. 
They then place on the spot the bread and the earthen pot, which 
is filled with water and covered with mango leaves. A small 
hole is made at the bottom of the pot so that the water may trickle 
out drc^ by drop and quench the thirst of the disembodied soul. The 
widow of the deceased breaks off her bangles and lucky necklace, 
and all return home after drinking liquor. On the third day after 
death the chief mourner gets himself shaved on the cremation ground 
and all, after bathing and drinking liquor, return to the house of the 
deceased, where a sheep is sacificed. The head of the sheep is 
buried under the spot where the deceased breathed his last and the 
rest is cooked and eaten by the household members. The Sradha 
ceremony is performed every year on the anniversary of death. 



1 70 Dhangar 

Occupation — The original occupation of the caste is grazing 
sheep and goats, and weaving blankets. Some of them are culti- 
vators. They deal in sheep and goats and their wool, and sell the 
milk of ewes. They are often pjaid by the cultivators, who greatly 
value the sheep manure, to have the flock penned on their farms. 
They are also engaged as day labourers. 

Social Status — The social position of the caste is just below 
that of the Maratha Kunbis. They eat from the hands of Kunbis, 
Malis, Hatkers, Brahmans and Komtis, while Hajams, Rangari, 
Dhobis and other low castes eat kflchi from the members of the caste. 
They eat mutton, fowl, fish and the flesh of deer, hare ^5nd some 
birds, and drink spirituous and fermented liquors. The Dhangars 
have a caste Panchayat. The headman is called mehetraya and 
decides all social disputes ; he is especially honoured on a marriage 
occasion with the present of a turban. 



xxvn 

Dhor 

Dhor — the tanner caste of the Maratha Districts, numerous also 
in all parts of the Carnatic and, in a smaller number, in some parts of 
Telingana. The name ' Dhor ' means ' horned cattle ' and is doubt- 
less besto^ved upon this caste with reference to their occupation of 
tanning and dressing cattle skins. Very little is known regarding 
their origin. They appear to be a degraded branch of the great 
Chambhar caste of the Marathawada country. This view derives 
support from the fact that, in whatever country they are found settled, 
they speak Marathi as their home tongue. They are robust and fair, 
with well-developed chests and wide faces, and in all their features 
they gave evidence of a Maratha origin. The Maratah title of ' jhi ' 
is also affixed to their names. 

Internal Structure — The Dhors are divided into five endo- 
gamous groups : (1) Range Dhor, (2) Budhale Dhor, (3) Kakayya 
Dhor, (4) Chambhar Dhor and (5) Shadu Dhor. The Range Dhors 
claim the highest rank and appear to be the original stock from which 
the other sub-castes have branched. They derive their name from 
the Marathi ' rangvine ' meaning 'to dye,' which refers to their 
occupation of ' staining hides. The Budhale Dhors, probably an 
offshoot from the Range Dhors, are so called because they make 
hudhales, or leather jars, for clarified butter and oil. The mode of 
making a budhale is as follows : — A piece of leather is closely set 
over an earthen mould of the size and shape of the jar required and 
the joints are cemented with a paste made from tamarind seeds. After 
the leather has taken the form of the mould and solidified, the earth is 
removed from inside. These leather jars were extensively used as 
convenient receptacles for carrying clarified butter and oil on bullocks ; 
but since the opening of railways, they have been replaced by tins, 
and the budhale industry has almost died out. The Budhale Dh(Ms 



172 



Dhor 



have now taken to tanning and curing skins, making dholaks (drums), 
water bags, water buckets and other leather articles. The Kakayya 
Dhors trace their descent from one Kakayya, a disciple of Basava, 
the founder of the Lingayit sect. Kakayya was originally a Range 
Dhor, but having embraced Lingayitism he was cut off from his 
community and became the founder of a new sub-caste. In addition 
to their own work of staining hides, the Kakayyas cobble old shoes 
and sometimes make new ones. The Chambhar Dhor, as the name 
indicates, is a mixed sub-caste, probably evolved by marriages 
between the Chambhar and the Dhor castes. It occupies a degraded 
position to both of them. The Chambhar Dhors tan and jfain hides, 
make shoes and water buckets and water-bags. The Shadu Dhors 
are the illegitimate offspring of the Dhors, by Dhor women who have 
been degraded for some social offence. 

Within these sub-castes, there are again 360 exogamous sec- 
tions, which appear to be entirely of Maratha origin. The section 
names are mostly of a territorial or titular type; but a few of them are 
totemistic, the totem being revered by the members of the, section 
bearing its name. For instance, the members of the Kavale section may 
not kill or injure a crow ; so also a Kavade is enjoined to pay devo- 
tion to cowrie shells. Some of the sections of the Dhors are given 
below : — 



Sonkavade (cowries) 
Landge (wolf). 
Jadhav. 
Kadam. 
Gaikwad. 
Sinde. 
Savre. 
Kharatmal. 
Sabne. 
Ingale. 
Sherkani. 
Vathar. 
&c. 



Kavale (crow). 
Bhokare. 
Hivre. 
Pulpagar. 
Bhalerao. 
Kalyanker. 
Kharad. 
Jogdanker. 
Soneker. 
Chougale. 
Darweshc. 
Gajankushe. 
8tc. 



Dhor 173 

The rule of exogamy observed by the caste is, that a man 
cannot marry outside the sub-caste nor inside the section to which he 
belongs. Two sisters may be married to the same husband and two 
brothers to two sisters. Marriage with a sister's or maternal uncle's 
daughter is permitted. Adoption is practised, provided the boy be of 
the same section as the adopter. Both infant and adult marriages 
are recognised for girls. Sexual license before puberty is tolerated. 
If an unmarried girl goes wrong with a man of her caste and becomes 
pregnant, her seducer is compelled to marry her and the pair, as well 
£is the parents of the bride, are admitted to pangat, or communion 
of food, ftn payment of a small fine to the caste Panchayat. The 
Dhors do not devote their young women to gods. A girl taken in 
adultery with a man of an inferior caste, is expelled from her own 
caste. Polygamy is permitted and no limit is set to the number 
of wives a man may have. 

Marriage — The father of the boy seeks out a bride for his son 
and arranges the match with her peirents in the presence of the caste 
Panchayat and of a Brahman or a Jangam officiating as priest. This 
having been agreed to, the girl is seated on a low stool, her forehead 
is smeared with vermilion and clothes and ornaments are presented to 
her by the parents of the boy. Patron saints and tutelary deities 
are invoked to bless the couple. The ceremony takes place, on an 
auspicious day fixed by a Brahman, in a wedding booth 
made of branches of guler (Ficus glomerata) and other 
varieties of trees in the courtyard of the bride's house, 
in the Marathawada, and of the bridegroom's house in 
the Carnatic. After the bridegroom has arrived in pro- 
cession at the bride's house, the young couple are made to sit 
side by side, surrounded by five pwts encircled with cotton thread, 
their bodies are smeared with turmeric and oil, and they are bathed 
with warm water. K(m\anas (thread bracelets) are tied on their 
wrists, their clothes are knotted together and they walk, the bride 
following the bridegroom, to the earthen platform, where they are 
wedded by the officiating Brahman, who holds a curtain between 
them, recites mantras and throws rice over their heads. The curtain 
being withdrawn, the wedded pair exchange garlands and rice, and 



1 74 Dhor 

make obeisance to the family deities and elderly relatives. A grand 
feast is given to the assembled guests and relatives, and the cere- 
mony is completed. 

WidoW'Marriage — A Dhor widow is allowed to marry again 
by a very simple rite, at which no Brahman officiates. A price 
varying in amount from Rs. 25 to Rs. 50 is paid for the widow to 
her parents. On a dark night, the bridegroom proceeds to the 
bride's house, makes her a present of a complete dress and ties 
mangahutra, or a string of beads, around her neck. Early the next 
morning, the couple repair to Hanuman's temple and, after worship- 
ping the god, they go to the bridegroom's house. The iproceedings 
are concluded by a feast to the caste brethren of the village. A 
widow is not allowed to marry her late husband's brother. 

Divorce. — Divorce is granted on the ground of the wife's 
unchastity or barrenness, or the husband's inability to support her. 
Divorced women may marry again, by the ritual in use at the 
re-marriage of widows. 

Inheritance — The Dhors follow the Hindu law of inheritance. 
In making a division of property, the eldest son gets an extra share 
(jethang) to enable him to support his unmarried sisters. 

Religion — The Dhors profess to be Saivaits, or the devotees 
of the god Mahadeva, whom they worship every week. No image 
is set up to represent the god ; but a small piece of ground is smeared 
with cow-dung on which the devotees burn incense and offer flowers 
and wheaten cakes covered with rice. They then bow down and are 
at liberty to parteike of the offerings. Basava and his disciple Kakayya 
are held in the highest reverence and invoked every Monday. Tolja 
Bhavani is worshipped on the Dassera holiday with offerings of goats, 
sheep and liquor. Khandoba and the other gods of the Hindu 
pantheon are also worshipped. The animistic deities, Pochamma, 
Elamma, Mari Amma, and a host of others, are appeased with animal 
sacrifices, a Bhoi or a Dhobi officiating as sacrificial priest at the 
worship of the deities and claiming the heads of the slaughtered 
animals for his services. The Dhors believe strongly in ghosts and 
departed spirits and in cases of sickness or disease an Erkala woman 
,is consulted to divine the cause. Should a ghost or malevolent spirit 



Dhor 175 

be suspected, it is immediately propitiated with the offerings the 
Erkala has enjoined. Ancestral worship prevails and images of 
departed ancestors, embossed or impressed on silver plates, are hung 
round their necks. At the Dioali festival, the Dhors worship the 
chief implements of their trade, which are the tan-knife, and the 
tan-pit in which the hides are steeped. In the Marathawada, 
Brahmans, and in the Carnatic, Jangams, serve the caste as priests. 

Disposal of the Dead — The dead are buried in a sitting 
posture, with the face turned towards the east. After death, the 
corpse is washed and carried in a sitting posture to the burial ground. 
The corpse is seated in a niche CMved out on one side of the grave, 
the forehead is smeared with Oibhuti, a lingam is placed in the left 
hand, bilawa leaves {Semecarpus Anacardium) and vibhuti are placed 
at the side, and the grave is then filled in. A Jangam stands on the 
grave, shouts out the name of the deceased and announces that he has 
gone to ko'las, or heaven. The Marathawada Dhors observe mourn- 
ing for 10 days, and perform Sradha for the benefit of the departed ; 
but in the Carnatic, where Lingayitism prevails, no mourning is 
observed, nor is any memorial ceremony performed after death. 
Persons dying of smallpox or cholera, and women dying in pregnancy 
are burned. 

Social Status. — Owing to their filthy occupation and habits, 
the Dhors have been condemned to the lowest grade in the Hindu 
social system, and hold, at the present day, a rank superior only to the 
Mahar, Mang and other degraded classes. They are not allowed to 
approach the temple premises, nor will the village servants defile 
themselves by working for them. They have, therefore, to procure 
barbers and washermen from among their own community. Their 
rules on diet are in keeping with their degraded position. They eat 
mutton, pork, fowl, venison and the flesh of animals that have died 
a natural death. They, however, profess to abstain from eating 
beef and the leavings of other people. They also freely indulge 
in spirituous and fermented liquors. No other caste, not even the 
Mahars or Dhers, will eat food cooked by a Dhor. 

Occupation — The hereditary, calling of the Dhor is tanning, 
currying hides, and making leather bottles, leather buckets, water^ 



176 Dhor 

sacks, budhales, pakhals and other leather articles. They buy raw 
hides of goats, sheep, bullocks, buffaloes and deer from butchers and 
Dhers, and soJik them for fifteen days in a strong solution of lime. 
The hide is then deprived of its hair and steeped in a solution of 
pounded babul (Acacia arabica) bark, amla or aonla (Ph^Uanthus 
emblica) and tarvad (Cassia auriculata) leaves. The hide, thus 
dressed, is bought by Maratha Chambhars, or Mochis, for making 
shoes and other curtictes. The Dhors are not known to skin the 
carcasses of dead animals. Some of them make new shoes and cobble 
old ones. A few of them work as aay-labourers. In social standing, 
the Dhors are inferior to the Maratha Chambhars or Teluriu Mochis. 



XXVIII 

DOMARA 

Domara, Dombari, Dotnri, Reddi Domara — a vagrant mongrel 
tribe of acrobats, jugglers, rope-dancers and tumblers, chiefly found 
in the Ttilugu and Carnatic Districts of H. H. the Nizam's Domi- 
nions. They are identical with the Kolhatis of Maharashtra, both 
of them being associated with the same means of livelihood. Both 
tribes have the evil repute of being highway robbers, burglars and 
, dakaits, and are classed by the police among the criminal tribes 
of the Dominions. 

History — These tribes wander about in small gangs throughout 
the couotry and encamp in temporary huts of mats made of palmyra 
leaves. The men are ostensibly engaged in making combs of buffalo 
horns and wood, brooms for weaver's looms, dolls and mattresses. 
To these occupations they add the exhibition of gymnastic feats, 
rope-dancing, tumbling, conjuring tricks and athletic exercises. In 
these performances they are joined by their women, some of whom 
are wonderfully expert in exhibitions on a long bamboo pole or a 
tight rope. To attract large audiences, the women selected as 
acrobats are generally smart and good-looking, and are trained in 
the art from their childhood. In their character, these women are 
very loose and dissolute, and the men not only encourage them in their 
depraved habits, but subsist largely on their immoral gains. 

Both the Kolhatis and the Domaras are a mixed race composed of 
various elements and this fact accounts for the appreciable varia- 
tions observed in their complexion and features. This variation of 
type seems to be due to the intermixture of blood brought about by 
the free admission of outsiders into the community, the prostitution of 
their women, and the kidnapping 'of high-caste girls to be brought 
up as dancing girls. 



1 78 DOMARA 

XXVIII-A 

DoMARA — DOMAR 

(Titles : — Appa, Ayya and Reddi.) 
Origin. — The Domars, as a class, are tall and well-made, 
varying in complexion from wheat colour to very dark. The men 
usually wear short hip trousers made of a coarse white cloth and, at 
festivals, shawls, jackets and lace turbans obtained by them as rewards 
in performances. The women are attired in gay clothes and deck 
themselves with a profusion of bangles and necklets of cowrie shells. 
The etymology of their name is obscure. It is said to ^be derived 
from the words ' Dimari ' and Dulmar' ; but their meanings are 
uncertain. They claim to be descended from one Motati Kapu who, 
being lame, was exposed, in infancy, on a river bank. Shri Ram- 
chandra and his wife, journeying in a chariot, observed the destitute 
child, took pity on him and restored him his limbs. The boy, in 
glee, jumped, and was, for this audacity, condemned to follow the 
occupation of a tumbler. Another tradition traces their desqent from 
one Chinnamma, who exhibited feats before a king who had im- 
prisoned her father. The father was released, but the woman lost 
her caste and had to take to prostitution. 

Internal Structure — The Domars are divided into two sub- 
castes Telaga Domars and Are Domars. Telaga Domars speak 
Telugu and have a slang of their own. Are Domars, or Maratha 
Domars, appear to be originally Kolhatis who migrated and settled 
in Telingana. Their home tongue is Marathi. The members of 
these sub-castes do not interdine nor intermarry. 

They have exogamous 'sections of a territorial or eponymous 
type such as : 

Karmachawaru. Padekuwaru. 

Ramasaniwaru. Jopalliwaru. 

Rajakawaru. Gujokuwaru. 

Marriage between persons belonging to the same section is 
prohibited. It is allowed between a man and his maternal uncle's or 
sister's daughter. A man may marry two sisters, but two brothers 



DOMARA i 79 

cannot marry two sisters. Polygamy is permitted. Adoption is 
rarely practised by the caste. 

Marriage — Girls are married both as infants and as adults. 
Cohabitation is tolerated before marriage, but if a girl becomes 
pregnant she is called upon to disclose the name of her lover, who 
is compelled to marry her and to pay a heavy fine to the caste 
council. It is customary to devote girls to temples and deities or to 
marry them to swords. The ceremony of dedication consists of 
making the girl sit before the idol of their patron deity, Guda 
Maisamma, and tying a tali (mangalsutra) about her neck. The 
Basavi girl 'is subsequently allowed to follow concubinage as her 
profession.' The progeny of such girls are admitted to the full 
privileges of the caste. 

Adult girls are sometimes married to men of their own choice. 
But usually the initiative towards marriage is taken by the boy's father. 
A suitable girl is selected and a bride-price of Rs. 20 is paid to her 
parents. The father of the boy goes to the girl's house and 
presents her with a sari and a choli. The betrothal is ratified by 
strong drink, of which the first cup is given to the chief man of the 
caste council. The marriage is performed before Maisamma, on a 
festive day, when men of the caste congregate from all parts to pay 
their devotion to the goddess. The bridegroom is first seated before 
the goddess on a mat of shendi (wild date palm), facing the east 
and holding in his hand a stick used for beating a drum. The girl is 
next brought in procession and seated opposite the boy. A necklace 
of glass beads is tied round the bride's neck and the clothes of the 
bridal pair are knotted. Rice is thrown on the heads of the 
couple and this forms the binding portion of the ceremony. A pig is 
killed the same day and the guests are feasted. On the third day 
after the wedding, the wedded pair are conducted in procession to 
the bridegroom's house. It is said that widow marriage is not 
pwmitted. But if a widow takes a fancy to a man she remains with 
him as his concubine. Her progeny are freely admitted into the 
caste. 

A girl on attaining puberty is considered unclean for seven 
days and is kept during this period in a separate hut, with a piece of 



1 80 DOMARA 

iron by her side. On the eighth day, the hut in which she lived 
during her pollution is burnt ; the girl then bathes and becomes 
ceremonially pure. 

A woman after child-birth is unclean for six days. On the 7th 
day after birth she is bathed, goes to a well with oil, worships it 
and returns home with a jar full of water. The child is named on 
the same day and caste men are feasted in honour of the event. 

Divorce — Divorce is permitted, with the sanction of the caste 
assembly, on the ground of the wife's adultery, or for incompatibility 
of temper. A divorced woman is not allowed to marry again, 
but she can be kept as a mistress. Her paramour is cOmpelled by 
the Panchdyat to pay to her husband the bride-price he paid to her 
parents. Elopements are general. Adultery with a man of high 
caste is tolerated and condoned by a small fine. Social indiscretion 
with a man of low caste is punished with instant expulsion from the 
caste. 

Inheritance — In matters of inheritance, the Domars follow their 
own tribal usages. Sons and Basavi daughters share equal'Iy in their 
father's property. If a man dies without male issue, his Basaoi 
daughters share his property. Failing them, the estate descends to 
his married or virgin daughters. 

Religion. — Guda Maisamma is the favourite and charac- 
teristic deity of the caste. On Tuesdays, at night, in the month of 
Shravana (August-September), the goddess is worshipped with great 
pomp and ceremony. A large concourse of Domars assemble at 
the shrine of the goddess and offer pigs, fowls and sheep to her. 
A man of the Kummara caste officiates as priest, and while the grand 
puja takes place, Domar men beat drums and the women sing songs. 
The heads of the sacrificed animals are claimed by the priest. The 
bodies are cooked and provide a feast for the assembled votaries. 
EUamma and Pochamma are also worshipped in the same month. 
Their other deities are Katayya, Maheshwar, Mutyalamma and 
Kankama, worshipped with various offerings. They have a firm belief 
in ghosts and witchcraft and Erkala women are consulted to iden- 
tify a malignant spirit. The 'Domars have recently been brought 
under the influence of the great sects and they profess themselves 



DOMARA 181 

to be Vibhutidharis or Saivaits. 

Disposal of the Dead.— The dead are buried in a lying posture, 
with the face downwards and the head pointing to the south. On 
the 3rd day after death, a pig is killed. The flesh is cooked, offered 
at the grave and subsequently buried underground. On the I 1th 
day, the mourners become purified. Again a pig is killed and the 
flesh cooked : part of it is offered at the grave and buried under- 
ground, the remainder being eaten by the householders. Brahmans 
are called in and presented with rice and money. Some of the 
Domars now bury their dead in a sitting posture, with the face to the 
east. Thetchief mourner shaves his moustache and the widow breaks 
her bangles. No Sradha is performed by the members of the caste. 
Ancestors in general are propitiated on the Pitra AmaWas^a (last 
day of Bhadrapad). 

Social Status. — In point of social status, the Domars rank very 
low and accept food from the hands of any caste except the Dhobis, 
the Hajams and the lowest castes, while no castes except the Malas 
and the Madigas will accept food from their hands. They eat the 
flesh of mice, cats, field rats, the mongoose, sparrows, squirrels, pigs 
and fowls, but abstain from beef. They indulge freely in strong 
drink. They eat also the flesh of animals that have died a natural 
death. 

Occupation — -As has been stated above, the Domars earn their 
livelihood by the performance of athletic feats and the prostitution 
of some of their women. Some of them have settled down and 
taken to agriculture. 

XXVIII-B 

DoMARA — KOLHATI 
Origin — Ancient authorities ascribe the origin of the Kolhatis 
to a liaison between a Shilindhru man and a Kshatriya woman. Their 
traditions say that they originally belonged to Northern India and are 
akin to the Bowries, the Kanjars, the Waghris and other Northern 
India tribes. According to another account, they claim to be 
descended from Khatri women who were degraded for sexual indis- 
cretions with lower castes. Very little is known, however, regarding 



1 82 DOMARA 

their origin and the etymology of the name they bear. They are 
divided into three sub-castes : (1) Pal or Kane Kolhatis, (2) Dukkar 
or Potri Kolhatis and (3) Dombaris. They are found in all the 
Districts of the Marathawada. The Pal Kolhatis are a wandering 
tribe, living in portable huts made of rousa grass, and carried from 
place to place on the backs of donkeys. The men are lazy and 
slovenly, while the women are smart and good-looking ; many of 
them lead a life of prostitution and support the men. The Dukkar 
Kolhatis are a fine, manly people and derive their name from their 
occupation of hunting wild pig and breeding the domesticated pig. 
They are a settled class, cultivating land and serving:' as village 
watchmen. The Dombaris are a branch of the Domars of Telingana 
and are inferior to the other two sub-castes. The Pal and Dukkar 
Kolhatis speak a mixture of Gujerathi and Marathi, whereas the 
home tongue of the Dombaris is a mixture of Telugu and Canarese. 
Internal Structure — The exogamous sections of the tribe are 
of the Maratha character, such as Gaikwad, Sinde, Pawar, Jadhava, 
Andhara, Kachare and the like. Intermarriage within ^the same 
section is prohibited. A man may marry two sisters and two uterine 
brothers may also mcury two sisters. Marriage with a sister's 
daughter is allowed. 

Marriage — Girls are married either as infants, or after they 
have attained puberty. Sexual intercourse before marriage is tolerated 
and condoned by a small fine. If the man with whom she has 
associated be of her own caste, she is married to him. Married 
girls live a very virtuous life but those who are likely to develop into 
good athletes are dedicated to the god Khandoba : these remain 
unmarried and become prostitutes. The ceremony of dedication is 
as follows. A pandal is erected in front of the hut and an image 
of Khandoba is installed in it. The girl, bathed and ornamented, 
is made to stand before the deity and bhandar (turmeric powder) is 
thrown over her. Goats are sacrificed to the god and the caste 
people are feasted in honour of the event. 

The marriage ceremony is simple and is performed at the bride's 
house. The bride and bridegroom are seated side by side and their 
garments are tied in a knot by the bride's mother. Women sing 



DOMARA 183 

songs and one of the men beats a dho\a\ (drum) all the while. 
Brahmans have, in recent years, been employed as priests and the 
ceremony is being elaborated into that current among the Maratha 
Kunbis. The father of a girl receives a price for her, varying from 
fifty to one hundred rupees. 

Widow=Marriage — Widows are allowed to marry again, but 
divorce is not recognised. If the couple disagree and cannot live in 
harmony, the husband abandons his claims over his wife, on recover- 
ing the price he paid to her father. Adultery is severely punished 
and the delinquent woman has her head shaved and her tongue 
branded wijh hot gold. 

Religion — The chief deity of the Kolhatis is Khandoba, to 
whom offerings are made on Sundays and on the light 6th of 
Margasirsa (December). They worship Hanuman, Tuljapur Bhavani 
and other gods of the Hindu pantheon. Among their minor gods are 
Mari Ai (the deity of cholera), Mhasoba, Jotiba and Bahiroba, 
propitiated with sacrifices of goats and fowls. They observe the 
Hindu ffstivals and make pilgrimages to sacred places. They have 
a strong belief in sorcery, malevolent spirits and the evil eye. They 
also worship Muhammadan Pirs. 

Disposal of the Dead — The dead are buried with the head 
to the north and the face upwards. The body is washed and carried 
on a bamboo bier to the burial ground. No regular Sradha is per- 
formed in honour of the deceased ; but, on the 3rd day after death, 
food is cooked in the burial ground and, after a portion of it has been 
offered to and touched by a crow, the mourners eat the rest and return 
home. Ancestors, in general, are propitiated on the last day of 
Bhadrapad and on the light 3rd of Vaishakha. 

Social Status The social rank of the Kolhatis is very low. 

They eat from the hands of all castes except Nhavis (barbers), Parits 
(washermen) and castes inferior to these, while no one, except a 
Mahar or a Manga, will eat from their hands. They also eat the 
leavings of Brahmans. Their touch is not regarded as unclean and 
they are allowed to draw water from wells used by the higher 
castes. They eat mutton, pork, fowl, all kinds of fish, rats and the 
flesh of carrion, and are addicted to strong drink. The Dukkar. 



184 DOMARA 

Kolhatis are said to add beef to this diet. 

The Kolhatis admit into their community members of castes 
higher than themselves in social standing, and the person thus 
admitted is required to eat the flesh of the pig with his adopted caste 
brethren. 

Occupation. — The Kolhatis pursue the same occupation as the 
Domars of Telingana. The Dukkar Kolhatis are reputed to be 
inveterate criminals and are vigilantly watched "by the police. Girls 
of higher castes are often kidnapped and trained as prostitutes and 
acrobats. Kolhati women are expert in tattooing. Some of the 
settled classes have followed agricultural pursuits, but 'ihey never 
work as farm-labourers. 



XXIX 

Erakala 

Erakala, Kaikadj, Korwah — a vagrant gypsy tribe, bearing an 
evil reputation as professional criminals and infesting the country 
between the Krishna and the Narbada rivers. For the purposes of 
crime, the.country is divided into districts and sub-districts, to each of 
which a gSng is sent, headed by a nail^, whose authority over his 
gang is absolute and who is always regarded with extreme reverence. 
Ostensibly, the men of the tribe work as basket and mat-makers, day- 
labourers and musicians, while the women wander from village to 
village as fortune-tellers and tatooers. 

In physical appearance, the Erakalas seem to be non-Aryans. 
Their irregular features, dark complexion and coarse, unkempt hair 
may lead to the conclusion that they belong to the aborigines of 
Southern India. They speak a mongrel dialect, which appears to be 
a mixture of Tamil, Telugu and Canarese, with a preponderance 
of the first. Their huts, generally funnel shaped, are made of date 
mats and twigs, and are carried from place to place on the backs 
of donkeys. The men are scantily clothed, wearing a piece of cloth 
about the loins and a dirty old turban on the head. The women 
wear saris, after the manner of the Telugu females, and have brass 
bangles on both arms. Their extremely untidy appearance has 
become proverbial, so that a very dirty girl, with dishevelled locks, 
is called a " Kaikadeen." 

Widely distributed as the tribe is, it bears different names in 
different localities, being called Erakala in Telugu, Kaikadi in 
Marathi and Korwah or Kurwi in Carnatic districts. The Erakalas 
derive their name from Emkd — knowledge or acquaintance — as the 
females of the tribe profess to be great experts in fortune-telling, 
which they have adopted as a profession. The derivations of the 
names Kaikadi and Korwah are 'obscure. 



1 86 Erakala 

Origin — Regarding the origin of the tribe, several stories are 
current. A legendary account tells how Renuka, the wife of 
Jamdagni amd mother of Parshuram, while bathing naked in the sacred 
waters of the Ganges, was beheld by a Dher and, being thereby 
deprived of the power which she had possessed in virtue of her chaste 
and meritorious life, failed to turn the holy sand into pots to carry 
water home. Jamdagni, observing the failure, and suspecting his wife 
to be guilty of a liaison with the Dher, had thfem both beheaded by 
his son Parshuram, and thus the pure-minded and innocent woman 
succumbed to the rage of a jealous husband. Parshuram implored 
his father to suspend his wrath, and to show mercy to /his mother 
by restoring her to life. At his entreaty, the sage relented, and 
desired Renuka's trunk and head to be brought in contact. 
Parshuram, in his haste, adapted the Dher's head to the trunk of his 
mother, which so enraged the irascible sage that he cursed his son 
and doomed him to be the procreator of the vile race of Kaikadis. 
Renuka, who came to life with a male head, became, under the 
name of Ellama, the patron deity of the tribe. 

Internal Structure — Owing to the unsettled state ol the tribe, 
and the wide range of country over which it is scattered, its internal 
structure is extremely intricate and complicated. A number of sub- 
tribes into which the tribe is divided, is given below : — 
Erakala sub-tribes. 

(1) Kunchal (brushes). 

(2) Pungi or Pamb (blow-gourd). 

(3) Butti (basket). 

(4) Mide. 

(5) Gampa (basket). 

(6) Bidigal. 

(7) Tatta. 

(8) Badigi. 

(9) Bal^ri. 

Korwah sub-tribes. 

(1) Kunchal. 

(2) Pungi. 

(3) Butti. 



Erakala 187 



(4) 


Kalla. 


(5) 


Belgar. 


(6) 


Wajantri (musician). 


(7) 


Pathar (prostitute). 




Kaikadi sub-tribes 


(1) 


Kunchi. 


(2) 


Pungi. 


(3) 


• Kothi (monkey). 


(4) 


Deccani. 


(5) 


Belgar. 



° (6) Sunai (musicians). 

(7) Kut Kaikadi (prostitutes). 

(8) Kamathi. 

It will be seen at a glance that one and the same name repre- 
sents two or more groups which are endogamous. Thus, the name 
'Kunchal,' denotes the three sub-tribes, Kunchal Erakala, Kunchal 
Korwah, and Kunchal Kaikadi, the members of which do not 
intermarry. This may be due to the reluctance of the members 
of the same sub-tribe to intermarry, when at a distance from one 
another. It will also be seen that the sub-tribes are functional 
groups, following the occupations indicated by their names. 
Kunchal Clans are engaged in making brushes for weavers' looms 

and snares for catching game. 
Buttin Clans are a wandering tribe, making baskets and children's toys 
from the twigs of the wild date palm, telling fortunes and selling 
medicinal roots. 
Pungi Clans (Pambal) are snake-charmers and exhibitors, jugglers 
and showmen. They travel about playing on the pungi or blow- 
gourd. They are suspected by the police of being gang robbers 
and burglars and of passing base metals for gold. 
Belgar Clans own donkeys which they let on hire; They deal in 

betel-nuts. 
Sunai Kaikadi or Wajantri Korwah are reported to be habitual 
criminals, highway robbers, dakaits and burglars. It is said that 
they have adopted crime ^s an hereditary profession and are 
under the strict surveillance of the police. 



188 Erakala 

Kut Kaikadi or Pathur Korwah earn their livelihood by purchasing 

girls and prostituting tliem. They live in towns and are 

reported to kidnap and sell children. 

Besides these there are the Bidigal Erakalas, who are lime- 
carriers ; the Gampal Erakalas, who are basket-weavers ; the Kothi 
Kaikadis, monkey-showers ; the Bellari Erakalas, who make slings 
for hanging up cooking utensils ; and several other sub-tribes. 

Each of the sub-tribes is divided into two. exogamous groups : 
the Korwah and Erakala tribes into — (I) Kawadi and (2) 
Satpadi, and the Kaikadi tribes into — (1) Jadhav and (2) 
Gaikwad. The latter names are evidently bonowed ,,from the 
Maratha Kunbis, probably to suit the community among whom the 
Kaikadis dwelt. The section name goes by the male side. A man 
cannot marry a woman of his own section. Thus, a Satpadi may not 
marry a Satpadi girl, but he can marry into the Kawadi. The 
marriage of two sisters to the same man is permitted, provided the 
elder is married first. The marriage of first cousins is not allowed, 
exception being made in favour of a man marrying the daughter of his 
father s sister. According to a custom prevalent among the tribe, 
every man has a right to claim the first two daughters of his sister, as 
wives for his sons. If, being sonless, or for any other reason, he is 
obliged to renounce his claim, his right to the girls is valued and the 
money paid to him by the parents of the girls before they are married. 
The bastards among the tribe are not allowed to marry the legitimates 
and have, consequently, formed a separate class divided into exogamous 
sections (1) Kotadi and (2) Manpadi. But the offspring of bastards 
are not illegitimate, and must marry the legitimate members of the 
community. 

The Erakalas admit into their caste, members of any caste 
higher to them in social standing. 

Marriage — Marriage is either infant or adult. A price is 
paid for the bride, which varies in amount from Rs. 14 to Rs. 196 
(fourteen fourteens), rising by a multiple of fourteen, according to the 
means of the bridegroom's parents. If the full amount (Rs. 196) 
is agreed upon, the maternal uncle of the girl claims Rs. 70 (five 
fourteens) as his share (which is, ' however, liable to vary as the 



Erakala 189 

bride-price) which must be paid to him prior to marriage. The 
bride-price may be reckoned either in cash or in asses. Half the 
amount at least must be paid before marriage, to enable the girl's 
father to pay off her maternal uncle and to make wedding prepara- 
tions. The balance may be liquidated after marriage, either in a 
lump sum, or by instalments. Sexual license before marriage is 
tolerated and in the event of an unmarried girl becoming pregnant, 
or having children, Ker lover is called upon by the caste Panchdyat 
to take her to wife. Husbands may even be obtained for women 
who have had children before marriage by members of the higher 
castes. Cpurtship is said to prevail and girls, when of mature age, 
are married to men of their own choice. In fulfilment of vows, 
girls are dedicated to temples and sometimes to trees, the ceremonial 
of dedication consisting of the girl's marriage, with all the usual rites, 
to the temple image, or to the tree which represents the bridegroom. 
Such girls subsequently become prostitutes. The Pathur Gorwah 
(Erakala prostitutes) wed their girls to a dagger before initiating them 
into thqir occupation. 

On an Erakala youth attaining a marriageable age, his parents 
look about for a suitable bride. A selection having been made, and 
the proposal having been accepted by the girl's parents, a day is 
fixed for the performance of the Agu Madu (betrothal) ceremony. 
On the appointed day, the parents of the boy, with their relatives, 
set out for the girl's house, taking with them a new mat of date 
palm. On their arrival, they spread the mat in the open, before the 
house, and on this mat the bride's father and the members of the caste 
Panchdyat (council) are seated. The question of the bride-price is 
opened and discussed and on its final settlement (to the satisfaction of 
both the parties) eight rupees are paid, as earnest money, to the 
bride's father. Liquor is ordered at the expense of the bridegroom's 
father and distributed to the assembly, the first cup being presented 
to the girl's father, whose drinking of it symbolises the ratification of 
the alliance, which can on no account be broken. 

On the wedding morning, a marriage shed is erected at the 
bride's house and the betrothed pair, in their own houses, are 
smeared five times with a paste of turmeric and oil and are then 



1 90 Erakala 

bathed. Towards evening, the parents of the girl, the father carrying 
on his head a new earthen pot and the mother holding in her hand 
a lighted lamp, proceed in procession to the village tank or river. A 
twig of the pipal tree (Ficus religiosa) with five offshoots, previously 
concealed under water, is searched for and, when found, is worshipped 
and placed in the earthen jar. The jar is then filled with water 
and carried back to the marriage booth, where it is kept covered, by 
the bride's mother, with a lighted lamp, which' is not allowed to go 
out so long as the marriage lasts. At the auspicious hour appointed, 
the bridegroom, dagger in hand, is taken in pomp to the bride s 
house where, on arrival, he is joined by the bride coming from the 
inner part of the house. The couple, dressed in white, are seated 
facing the sanctified pot, the bride to the left of her husband, on 
squares of rice drawn on a date palm mat spread underneath the 
bower. The consent of the caste Panchd^at to their wedding having 
been solicited and secured, the bride's father, who officiates as priest, 
fastens the ends of their garments in a knot and ties tila (one 
rupee) in the turban of the bridegroom. This tribal ceremonial, which 
forms the binding and essential portion of the marriage ceremony, 
is followed by certain Hindu rituals, oiz., Talwdl or the throwing of 
turmeric-coloured rice on the wedded pair, first by their peurents and 
then by the weddmg guests, and Pusti Miital or the placing of a black 
bead necklace round the girl's neck and toe rings on her toes. The 
ceremony continues until the small hours of the morning, the bridal 
pair sitting up ail the while. Next morning, the married couple are 
bathed, auspicious lights are waved round their faces by married 
females and milk and curds are given them to drink. Dand\)a and 
Wadibium bring the celebration to a close. Among the Korwas, 
a curious ceremony is performed on the second day of the wedding. 
The bride is concealed in a neighbour's house by her mother and the 
bridegroom starting out on foot, seeks her out and carries her home 
in his arms. 

Widow-Marriage — A widow is generally required to marry 
her late husband's younger brother, even though he be younger than 
herself. Her choice of a second tusband is not, however, fettered 
and she may marry an outsider, provided he does not come within the 



Erakala 191 

prohibited degrees of relationship. In either case she forfeits all 
rights to her late husband's property. The ritual in vogue at a 
widow marriage is simple and consists in dressing the widow in new 
clothes, putting bangles on her arms and taking her home. A feast 
to the relatives closes the ceremony. 

Divorce. — Divorce is allowed on the ground of the wife's 
barrenness, or unchastity, or disobedience, and is effected by turning 
her out of the house \n the presence of the caste Panchd^at. She 
is permitted to re-marry by the same ceremony as a widow and, in 
case she re-marries, her second husband is compelled to refund to 
the first the^ amount, or a portion of the amount, which the latter paid 
to her parents as bride-price. 

Inheritance — The Erakalas very seldom resort to the courts 
of law, but have their disputes settled by the caste Panchdyats. In 
matters of inheritance, they are governed mostly by tribal customs 
of their own. In the absence of any male issue, daughters are said 
to inherit and the fact that a girl is dedicated to a temple and has 
become a prostitute, does not debar her from inheriting the ancestral 
property. ' 

Child=Birth — A singular custom, of great antiquity, which still 
survives among the Erakalas, is worth recording. The moment 
labour begins, the woman communicates the fact to her husband, who 
immediately retires to a dark room and lies on a bed, covering himself 
with his wife's clothes. When the child is bom it is placed by the 
side of the father, who has his teeth daubed with dentifrice and his 
eyelashes smeared with lamp-black, while all the prescribed medi- 
cines are given to him and he is not allowed to leave his bed for three 
days, during which period he is regarded as being impure. No 
attention, on the other hand, is shown to the mother, who lies 
neglected on the ground. She is given no medicine and no food 
except bread. The Erakalas tell the following story to account 
for this singular practice. In days of yore, the donkeys of a certain 
Erakala used to wander into fields and do considerable damage to the 
crops. Thrice was the Erakala punished for this offence by the 
owners of the farms. On the fourth occasion, the damage wrought 
by the beasts to the crop was so heavy, that the Erakala, afraid of 



1 92 Erakala 

a sound beating, took to bed, and turned the occasion of the confine- 
ment of his wife to his advantage, by declaring that he was being 
treated for her. It was to this event that the Erakalas ascribe the 
introduction among them of couvade, known among savage tribes. 

Religion. — The religion of the Erakalas is animism, overlaid 
by a very thin layer of popular Hinduism. Their favourite and 
characteristic deity is Elamma, represented in various forms and wor- 
shipped on Fridays and Tuesdays with offerings of flowers and sweet- 
meats. Among the Korwas, the goddess is represented by an earthen 
pot set up in a hut specially built to serve as her sanctuary. Early 
on a Tuesday morning, the Korwa female who is selected to officiate 
as priestess of the divinity bathes and fills the sacred pot with water. 
Incense is then burnt, flowers presented, auspicious lights, placed in a 
shallow dish of palm twigs, solemnly waved and prayers offered in 
front of the goddess. The water contained in the sacred pot is then 
distributed and with this water cakes are prepared and eaten by the 
votaries. Pigs, fowls and goats are sacrificed to the deity on special 
occasions, the slaughtered animals furnishing a feast to hefr devotees 
after the sacrifice. 

Among the other animistic deities that are honoured by the tribe, 
may be mentioned, Pochamma, the goddess of smallpox, and 
Balamma, a deity of vaguely defined functions, who are appeased 
with the offerings of ewes ; while to Mahalaxmi, the goddess who 
presides over cholera, are offered pigs and fowls on the Dassera 
Holiday (September). At the worship of Bhavani, a gondhal (sacred 
dance) is performed and ewes are sacrificed on her altar. 

The Erakalas are a spirit-haunted and ghost-ridden people and 
ascribe every disease or malady, every misfortune or calamity, to the 
action of some malevolent spirit, or of some troubled ancestral 
ghost. The influence of evil spirits is averted by sacrificing to them 
such animals as goats, pigs, fowls, &c. The services of an 
Erakala priestess are called in to identify and to lay the ghosts of 
departed ancestors. When a ghost is to be appeased, the following 
ceremony is performed : — Some jawdri is spread on the ground and 
a small earthen pot, surmounted'^ by a lighted lamp, is placed upon 
It. The priestess, having bathed and seated herself, facing the 



Erakala 193 

leimp, becomes possessed and goes on playing on a musical instru- 
ment called a tmgari (a sort of fiddle), singing, one by 
one, the names of all the deceased relatives, until the flickering flame 
of the lamp becomes steady. The image of the deceased person, 
whose name has steadied the flame, is embossed upon a silver plate 
which, being hung round the neck of the sufferer, is supposed to cure 
him. Garlands made of pieces of leather and cowrie shells are also 
worn in the name of Ellamma by men and women to ward off evil 
influences proceeding from spirits and ghosts. 

In addition to these elemental deities and departed ancestors, 
the Hindu gods Hanuman, Rajanna and Mahadeva are also honoured, 
though in a scanty fashion, by the tribe, more particularly by those 
who have given up their wandering habits and settled down in 
villages and towns. Brahmans have not yet been introduced either 
for ceremonial or religious functions which are discharged by their 
tribal priests. The growing influence of Hinduism may 
be traced to the fact that a few of the Erakalas have 
divided themselves, like the Hindu castes of Telingana, into 
Namdharis and Vibhutidharis. 

Disposal of the Dead — The dead are usually burnt, but 
occasionally buried in a lying posture, with the head pointing to the 
south. It is said that the members of the Satpadi section bury their 
dead and those of the Kawadi burn them. The ashes are either left 
at the place of cremation or thrown into a running stream. Mourn- 
ing is observed for five days, during which time the principal mourner 
is regarded as unclean and abstains from flesh. On the fifth day after 
death, a swine is killed, its flesh is cooked and a funeral feast is given 
to all the relatives. In the name of the deceased, birds are fed 
with the food placed on a leafy plate. No Srddha is performed 
for the propitiation of the manes of the departed. If the spirit of the 
deceased person is suspected of having reappeared in a 
ghostly form, a small metal plate, with his image engraved 
upon it, is placed in the god's room and worshipped on every festive 
occasion. 

Social Status — The social status of the tribe is very low. 
No castes, other than the lowest unclean classes of Mahar (Mala), 
13 



194 Erakala 

Mang (Madiga), Chambhar, &c., will take food or water from their 
hands, while they will accept food from all Hindu classes except the 
lowest unclean castes. The members of the tribe are not allowed 
to enter the court-yard of great temples. They have few scruples 
regarding their diet and will eat fowls, pork, scaly and scaleless 
fish, field rats, jackals, foxes, cats, mongooses, carrion and 
the leavings of the higher castes. They indulge freely in 
strong drink and the tumult that ensues therefcom generally ends in a 
fight. 

Occupation. — The vagrant Erakalas are professional burglars 
and highway dakaits and are under the strict vigilance oi the police. 
They commit burglaries by digging through the walls of houses with a 
sharp iron instrument and, after the depredations have been com- 
mitted, move away many miles from the scene of the crime, dis- 
posing of or secreting the plunder very quickly. Their highway 
dakaities are marked with extreme violence and ruthlessness, ending, 
not infrequently, in murder. They are very superstitious and never 
commence their predatory incursions unless the omens are favourable. 
Their ostensible means of livelihood is to make mats and 'baskets of 
date palm, ropes and twines from jungle fibres, slings for hanginr 
cooking utensils and clothes, and ropes for drawing water and 
tethering animals. With these commodities, the women of the gangs 
wander from village to village and, under the pretext of selling them, 
collect information which helps the men in organising crime. The 
Erakala females are petty thieves and as they go about begging from 
door to door they make away with pots and clothes they 
can lay their hands upon unnoticed. Sometimes they are 
so bold as to open and plunder locked houses situated in 
unfrequented lanes. 

As a fortune teller, an Erakala woman is in great favour among 
all the Telugu castes. She carries, in a date basket, her patron 
deity Ellamma, in the form of a small circular plate embossed with 
cowrie shells. She invokes the deity and, as if acting under its 
influence, tells fortunes and reveals the future. Sometimes, possessed 
by the goddess, she discloses the name of the evil spirit that haunts 
a family and prescribes remedies for its pacification. 



Erakala 195 

The settled members of the tribe are peaceful cultivators and 
village musicians. They also work in date palm leaves, making 
brooms, baskets, mats and toys for children. They have not yet 
thoroughly repressed their criminal instincts and are frequently 
suspected of helping their nomadic comrades in the commission of 
crime. 



XXX 



Gavli 

Gavli — a pastoral caste found in all the Marathawada districts 
and in some parts of Telingana. The Gavlis have no traditions and 
cannot give any account of their origin, nor of their former 
settlement. They are strong, dark and well made. It is possible 
that they may be an offshoot from the great Lingayit community, 
differentiated by keeping herds of cattle and taking to pastoral habits. 

Internal Structure — The Gavlis are divided into two sub- 
castes, Nagarkar and Vajarkar, which are evidently of the territorial 
type. The members of these sub-castes interdine but do not inter- 
marry. Each of these is further divided into a number of exogamous 
sections, some of which are given below as specimens : — 



Khedkar. 

Taitankar. 

Punekar. 

Mardkar. 

Nizamshai. 

Avasekar. 

Bhaganagari. 

Hatdurkar. 

Bajirao. 

Ganjewale (hemp). 

Divate (torch). 

Langote (rag). 

Paraswari. 

Ambarkhane. 

Sevate. 

Alankhane. 

Dhamkade. 

Pharadkhane. 

Atrunkarin. 



Khandarkar. 

Katikar. 

Baride. 

Nandarkar. 

Aurangabade. 

Bahirwade. 

Godulkar. 

Shahpurkar. 

Jhade (tree). 

Dahiwade (curds). 

Landge (wolf). 

Goakhore. 

Devrishi. 

Mahankale. 

Pathait. 

Bhakare. 

Mongle. 

Shelar. 

Chankade. 



Gavli 197 

Marriage — Infant marriage is practised by the caste, girls 
being married between the ages of two and ten years. Polygamy 
is permitted, without any limit being imposed on the number of wives 
a man may have. The marriage ceremony is of the type common 
among other Lingayit castes. A bride-price varying from Rs. 50 
to Rs. 200 is paid to the father of the bride. The marriage takes 
place at night. After the bride has been selected, the father of the 
bridegroom goes to her house and presents her with jewels and new 
clothes. On this occasion a feast is given by the bride's people in 
confirmation of the match. On the appointed day, the bridegroom, 
mounted oi* a bullock, goes in procession to the bride's house and 
is received at the entrance by the bride's mother, who waves a piece 
of bread round his head. The bride and bridegroom are seated on 
low wooden stools, the bride being on the left hand of the bride- 
groom. Five metal pots are arranged about them, forming a square, 
and a man goes five times round them, first keeping them always on 
his right hand, and then as many times again keeping them on his 
left. Vhile he is making the circuits, he encircles the pots 
with a raw cotton thread. Both Brahmans and Jangams are called 
in to conduct the ceremony, who recite mantras, or sacred texts, and 
throw coloured rice on the bridal pair. This is deemed to be the 
binding portion of the ceremony. The scarves of the bridal pair 
are tied in a knot and their feet are washed with water and milk. 
The bride's right hand is then placed on the right hand of the 
bridegroom and the father of the bride puts a rupee and a quarter 
into her hand, which she drops into that of the bridegroom. This 
completes the giving away of the bride {Kanyadan) and his acceptance 
of her by the bridegroom. The two sets of cotton thread are then taken 
off from the pots and one is tied as kflnkanam on the wrist of the 
bride and the other on that of the bridegroom. After Ganesh and 
Kalash (water pot) have been worshipped the bridal pair are 
smeared with turmeric and oil and the ceremony is closed. The 
officiating Brahman and Jangam claim their fees and retire to their 
homes. 

Widow=Marriage — The Gavjis allow a widow to marry again 
and impose no restrictions on her choice of a second husband. The 



198 Gavu 

widow, before her marriage, is, however, required to give up her 
children, both male and female, to her late husband's family. The 
ceremony in use at the marriage of a widow is a very simple one and 
closely conforms to that among the Maratha Kunbis, both Brahmans 
and Jangams officiating as priests. Divorce is permitted, with the 
sanction of the caste Pancha^at, and divorced wives are allowed to 
marry again by the same rite as widows. 

Religion — In respect of religious and ceremonial observances, 
the Gavlis generally conform to the usages of the Lingayit sect. Like 
other Lingayits, they wear a lingum, the phallic emblem of the god 
Shiva, round their necks and worship it daily with offerings of flowers 
and food before they dine. No Gavli, so long as he lives, can part 
with this symbol without incurring expulsion from his caste. Their 
special deity is Mahadev, whom they worship on festive occasions 
with offerings of flowers and fruit and in whose honour they observe a 
fast on Mahashivratra, or the 14th of the dark half of Magh (April) 
and on every Monday in the month of Shravana (August). They 
pay reverence also to Khandoba, Naroba, Bhavani of Tuljapur, 
Ganapati and other gods of the Hindu pantheon, and make pilgrim- 
ages to Pandharpur, Tuljapur, Kondanpur, Jejuri, Alandi and 
Benares. They call in Jangams, the priests of the Lingayits, at their 
birth and funeral ceremonies, while Brahmans are employed to con- 
duct their marriages. Their religion, in fact, is a mixture of Linga- 
yitism and Hinduism, as practised by the middle classes of Hindu 
society of Maharashtra. Ancestral worship prevails strongly and 
silver and brass impressions representing departed ancestors are placed 
in the god's room and worshipped by burning frankincense and cam- 
phor before them and with offerings of flowers, fruit and boiled rice. 

Child-Birth — A Lingayit woman, after childbirth, is unclean 
for ten days. On the eleventh day, the mother and child are bathed 
and their foreheads are smeared with mhhuti (sacred ashes) by a 
Jangam and they are then free from impurity. Finally, the Jangam 
brings a new lingum, worships it and either ties it round the child's 
neck, or hands it to the mother to be kept till the child is twelve years 
old. 

Disposal Of the Dead._The dead are buried in a sitting pos- 



1 1 



Gavli 199 

ture facing the east. When a person dies, the corpse is seated in a 
wooden frame (makhar), its forehead is smeared with oibhuU and 
it is carried to the grave on the shoulders of four men. After the 
body is lowered into the grave, it is filled in with earth and salt, and 
the Jangam, standing over the mound of earth raised over it, blows 
the conch shell, intimating that the soul of the deceased has reached 
Kailas (Shiva's abode). He is then dragged down by the chief 
mourner and paid hii fees. Mourning is observed for three days 
only and on the third day a feast is generally given to the members 
of the caste. 

Social Status. — The Gavlis rank higher, socially, than the 
Maratha Kunbis, and are equal to those groups of the Lingayits who 
have undergone no DiJfsha (initiation ceremony) and with whom 
Gavlis will eat both kflchi (uncooked) and pakk' (cooked) food and 
smoke from the same hookah. All kinds of animal food are strictly 
prohibited, and the members of the caste also abstain from indulging 
in strong drink. 

Occupation — The large majority of the caste find employment 
as cowherds and comparatively few have taken to agriculture. They 
purchase cow buffaloes from Berar at prices varying from Rs. 30 to 
Rs. 120 and cows at from Rs. 20 to Rs. 60. Their women help 
them in selling milk, butter, curds and whey, and in making and sell- 
ing cowdung cakes. The children tend the herds of cows and buffaloes 
belonging to themselves and other people and drive them out to 
pasture. 

Distribution The following statement shows the number and 

distribution of the Gavlis in 1 911 : — 

District. Males. Females. 

Hyderabad City 1,433 1,412 

Atrafi Balda 101 87 

Warangal 124 115 

Keurimnagar ... •■• ••■ 28 14 

Adilabad 968 817 

Medak 57 13 

Nizamabad -^ ■•• 68 73 

Aurangabad .* ... 1,096 1,031 



200 



Gavli 



District. 
Bhir 
Nander 
Parbhani 
Gulbarga 
Usmanabad 
Raichur 
Bidar 



Vlales. 


Females 


597 


592 


1,600 


1,652 


804 


782 


1,219 


1,169 


403 


333 


807 


835 


557 


544 



XXXI 

Ghisadi 

Ghisadi, Baiti ^Kamara {'Baiti' in Telugu meaning 'outside') — a 
wandering caste of iron-workers, polishers, tinkers and knife-grinders. 
The name 'Ghisadi' seems to be derived from the Urdu word 
' ghaisHE^', meaning ' to rub.' Their origin is obscure. The Ghisadis 
themselv^ say that they were originally Marathas, and separated from 
the pMent caste by reason of their having adopted their present 
occupation. Others claim Gujerath to be their original habitat. 
Their traditions throw no light upon their original affinities. 
Their home tongue is Gujerathi, but they speak Marathi 
and Hindustani as well. As a class they are hardworking and 
robust, but quanelsome and fond of drinking. They generally live 
in hut?, or pals, of cloth, on the outskirts of villages, where they find 
work. They carry their clothing, utensils and other articles on 
asses, ponies or bullocks from place to place. Both males and 
females dress like the Maratha Kunbis. They generally wear top- 
knots and beards. 

Internal Structure — The Ghisadis have no sub-divisions. 
Their exogamous sections are based upon family names which 
closely resemble those of the Maratha Kunbis. Marriages are 
regulated according to surnames. 

Surnames (Marathawada), Surnames (Telingana). 

Pawar Poshinarwaru 

Chavan Paingantiwaru 

Bhukya Palakadawaru 

Rathor Heerapuramwaru 

Salunke Badapolawaru 

Katker Anvalikarwaru 

Persons of the same surnames cannot intermarry. A man may 
marry two sisters but two brothers cannot marry two sisters. A 



202 Ghisadi 

niece may be taken in marriage. Outsiders are not admitted into 
the caste. 

Marriage — Both infant and adult marriages are practised by 
the caste. A girl is sent to her husband's house immediately after the 
marriage ceremony. Cohabitation before puberty is tolerated. Girls 
are not dedicated to temples. A girl becoming pregnant before 
marriage is expelled from the caste. Polygamy is permitted theoreti- 
cally to any extent, but is limited in actual life to not more than two 
wives. 

The marriage ceremony differs in different localities. The 
Maratha Ghisadis marry their daughters by the ceremony ,in vogue 
among the Maratha Kunbis. The ceremony among the Baiti Kamaras 
takes place in a wedding booth of nine pillars, and is attended with 
the killing of a pig and five sheep, cis a sacrifice to the patron deities 
of the caste. In other respects, it conforms to the usage current among 
the other Telugu castes. 

In general, a widow is not allowed to marry again. But where 
the custom prevails, she may marry her late husband's younger 
brother. 

Divorce. — Divorce is recognised and is effected by driving the 
woman out of the house. No expenses are recovered. Adultery on 
the part of a woman with a member of a lower caste is punished by 
expulsion from her caste, but with a man of a higher caste it may be 
condoned by a small fine, or entirely overlooked. 

Religion — The religion of the Ghisadis presents no features of 
special interest. They themselves profess to be Saivaits, and worship 
Balaji and Bhavani as their patron deities. They pay reverence to all 
the Hindu gods, and observe the Hindu festivals. They have a firm 
belief in ghosts, evil spirits and witchcraft. Maisamma is appeased 
by Telugu Ghisadis with offerings of flesh and wine. Brahmans are 
engaged for ceremonial and religious observances. 

Disposal of the Dead— The dead are burnt, with the head to 
the north and the face downwards. The ashes and bones are collected 
on the 3rd day after death, and thrown into any stream that is close by. 
Mourning is observed, 10 days for ?gnates, and 3 days for other re- 
latives. Among the Baiti Kamaras a singular custom ordains that 



Ghisadi 203 

the spot where the body is burnt be marked with a stone bearing the 
images of the sun and moon. Funeral rites are performed on the 
10th, 11th and 12th days after death. Some of the Ghisadis do not 
mourn for their dead, and their women assume widowhood three days 
after the death of their husbands. This singular divergence from the 
orthodox usage may be due to the supposition that the spirit does not 
shake off its attachment to the dead body until three days after death. 
No Sradha is perforrned by the members of the caste. Rice and alms 
are offered to Brahmans in the name of the departed ancestors >a the 
Pitra AmaWas^a, or the last day of Bhadrapad (Sept. -Oct.). 

Occupation — For eight months in the year they wander from 
village to village and work, especially in iron. They prepare all 
kinds of ironware, which they sell in the bazars. 

Social Status — They eat the flesh of goats, fowls, pigs, and 
fish and drink wine and shendi. They do not eat the leavings of any 
caste. They eat \achi (uncooked food) from the hands of all castes, 
except Dhobis, Malas, Mangalas and Panchadayis, while only the 
Malas,. Madigas and Erakalas will eat from their hands. 



XXXII 

GOLLA 

Golla, Gulla, Gullai (in the Carnatic),' Gollewar, Gavali, 
Dhangar— a numerous pastoral caste of the Telugu and Carnalic 
Districts, found also on the eastern outskirts of the Marathawada 
country. Dwelling generally on the plains, they move, 0uring the 
dry season, to the forest-clad hills which yield abundant pasture for 
their flocks and herds. 

Etymology Opinions differ regarding the etymology of the 

word 'Golla.' Some derive it from the Sanskrit word 'gopal,' mean- 
ing 'a keeper of cows' ('go' — a cow, and 'pal' — a keeper). Others 
hold that it is a corruption of ' Godlawaru ' (grazier of cows), ' GoUa- 
waru' (cow-herd) or 'Gurlawaru' (shepherd). The last derivation is 
probably suggested by the fact that the Gollas have, of recent date, 
taken to tending sheep. 

The titles of respect which are afdxed to the names of the male 
members of the caste are ' Anna ' (elder brother), ' Ayya ' (father) 
and 'Boyadu' (elder). 

Origin — The Gollas are not a homogeneous race, but are com- 
posed of a large number of endogamous groups, the members of which 
are found to differ from one another in their features and complexion 
and even in their manners and usages. Their traditions tend to sup- 
port the same view and to show how people of different origin have 
been linked together by common occupations and constitute the Golla 
caste. 

The Eja Gollas of the Karimnagar and Nalgunda districts 
trace their descent from the god Krishna's sons, who escaped the des- 
truction by fire of the Yadava race. The survivors were, according 
to a legend, subsequently grouped under divisions based upon the 
manner in which they effected their escape. Those who were red- 
dened by the glow of the fire were called Yera Gollas, the word 



GOLLA 205 

'yeta' meaning 'red' in Telugu ; those who lay concealed in the green 
foliage of umbrageous trees were called Paknati, 'paknati' meaning 
'green branches'; those who implored the god Krishna to save 
them, were known as Puja GoUas ; while others, who carried their 
family gods in baskets (Telugu gampa) got the name of Gampa 
Gollas ; and, lastly, the descendants of those who fought in the melee, 
have borne the designation of Mushti Gollas. 

Another tradition, purely of a local character, comes from 
Kurvinal in the Atrafi Balda district, and represents the Gollas as 
having sprung from one Iranna, the son of the king Pidiraj of Dona- 
kunda in *Telingana and his wife Padma. Iranna, and his brave 
brother Kathanna saved the bovine race from a female goblin and 
have been, in consequence, elevated to the rank of gods. 

Internal Structure — The number of sub-castes into which 
the Gollas are divided is unusually large. A few, deserving notice, 
have been enumerated below : — 

1. Yera or Era Golla. 

2. Sadnam or Boya Golla. 

3. Yaya Golla. 

4. Paknati Golla. 

5. Puja Golla. 

6. Mushti Golla. 

7. Modati Golla. 

8. Mudra Golla. 

9. Sale Golla. 

10. Sarsa Golla. 

11. Adi Golla. 

12. Gujarathi Golla. 

13. Ale Golla. 

14. Pedwati Golla. 

15. Manda Golla or Buchewad. 

16. Yadava Golla. 

17. Karne Golla. 

18. Gampa Golla. 

These names appear to refer either to the physical type of the 
sub-caste, as in the case of the Era Gollas, or to some traditionarj 



206 GOLLA 

function, as puja and modati, or to a legendary event, as m the case of 
Musfiti and Paknati. They have also reference either to the place 
from which the members immigrated, or their descent (probably 
fictitious) from a particular stock. Gujarathi Gollas are an instance 
of the former class and Yadava Gollas of the latter. 

The Vera or Era Gollas derive their name from the colour of 
their skin, which is more transparent than that of the other GoUa tribes. 
They form the bulk of the caste living in 'H. H. the Nizam's 
Dominions. Their tall, muscular frames, regular features and com- 
paratively light complexions (sun-burnt by constant exposure) indicate 
their foreign origin, although history is silent upon the exact period of 
their immigration. They claim a social rank higher than all the other 
sub-castes, except the Gujarathi and the Adi, who are, however, to 
be rarely met with in the districts. 

It is customary among members of this sub-caste to dedicate both 
boys and girls to their patron deities Mallana and Raj Rageshwar ; in 
fulfilment of vows they may have made to these deities. The girls 
are also married to swords. Such dedicated girls are called Parvati 
and Jogini and are known to lead loose lives, associating themselves 
with men of their own caste, or of higher castes, but on no account of 
inferior castes. A curious, but ancient custom, forbids Yera women 
to perforate their noses and to wear nose-rings or head ornaments. 
The panot is neither tamed nor touched, and the veneration with 
which the bird is regarded by the members of this sub-caste, leads to 
the inference that it might be the totem of the tribe. 

In Gulbarga and other Canarese districts the name 'Vera' has 
been dropped and the members of the sub-caste call themselves Anam 
Gollas, speak Canarese and have preferred the cultivation of land to 
their original occupation. The Anam Gollas deal also in medicinal 
herbs and roots and in their capacity of Wai-mandlus (mountebanks) 
are popularly believed to be very skilful in cupping and bleeding, in 
extracting guinea worms, preparing embrocations and ointments, feel- 
ing the pulse and prescribing for ordinary diseases. Their women are 
engaged as farm-labourers, but will never stoop to accept service as 
domestic servants. 

The Sadnam, or Boya Golas are hypergamous to the Era 



GOLLA 207 

Gollas to whom, it is said, they give their maidens in maiiiage. The 
members of this sub-caste profess to abstain from eating fowls. Their 
women do not wear cholis or petticoats. 

The Yaya Gollas appear to be an offshoot from the Yera Gollas, 
whom they closely resemble in physical type, although they are a 
little swarthier in complexion. They maintain the Panchayat 
system, the headman of which is termed chaudhari or Mehter. At 
a wedding ceremony the chaudhari has the privilege of placing the 
first spot of sandal paste on the forehead of the bridegroom, for which 
he claims betel-leaves, areca-nuts, a piece of bodice cloth and five 
copper (Jains as his perquisite. 

The Paknati Gollas are divided into two endogamous groups — 
Domatiwaru and Magdiwaru — based upon the difference of the usages 
which regulate their marriage ceremony. Before marriage, some male 
members (usually nine) of a Domatiwaru family are required to 
observe a fast for a whole day, in honour of their patron deity, 
Mallanna in Telingana and Chandramma in the Carnatic, and to 
drink ghi at the time when the fast is broken. If any of them 
declines to drink the liquid it is forcibly poured down his throat and, 
should he fall ill thereby, he is given wine to drink and onions to eat, 
and a ram is slaughtered and placed upon the pandal beneath which 
the wedding is to be celebrated. No such usage obtains among 
the members of the Magdiwaru sub-division. The Paknati maidens 
are, like their Yera sisters, dedicated to deities and married to swords 
and trees and, under the designation of Parwati or Jogini, live sub- 
sequently the lives of prostitutes. 

The Puja Gollas are a dark complexioned sub-caste, possessing 
coarse and indelicate features and taking their name from a legend 
purporting that their ancestors were priests to the shepherd god 
Mallana. A usage, evidently of a non-Aryan origin, requires them to 
eat pigs on the first day of the new year, as an act of merit, which is 
believed to bring them good fortime and happiness during the year to 
come. Like the Yera women, their females are debarred from per- 
forating their noses or from wearing nose-rings and head ornaments. 
The Puja women do not wear bodices, owing to the mythological 
event, which they still fondly cherish, that Shri Krishna, in one of 



208 GOLLA 

his amorous frolics, bore away on the kolarnb tree (Stepheg^ne parvi- 
jolia), the garments of the milkmaids of Brindaban while they were 
bathing, undressed, in the waters of the holy Jamna. The members of 
this sub-caste honour, among their deities, the river Ganges, which is 
represented by small stones placed outside their dwellings and wor- 
shipped, on a dark night, by the eldest member of the community. 

The Mushti Gollas allege that they inherited their name from 
their ancestors, who were distinguished for their- skill in boxing. 

The Gujarathi Gollas profess to observe a high standard of 
ceremonial purity, drink water which is not exposed to the sun s rays 
and claim, on this ground, to be superior to other Golla stb-castes, 
with whom they neither interdine nor intermarry. 

TTie Modati Gollas ('modati' meaning 'indigenous') appear, as 
their name indicates, to be a group of local formation. They earn their 
living by begging from the higher classes of Gollas, to whom they 
stand in the relation of family bards and genealogists, singing and 
extolling the history and renown of the families of their supporters. 
They travel from village to village under their popular name of 
Tuljawad or Teljilodu, the word 'tulja' being, it is said, derived 
from tira chira' which means 'a sari with patterns of dolls em- 
broidered on it.' This sari they spread on the ground in front of 
their moveable huts, or hang as a curtain at the door and, assuming 
various disguises, entertain their audience by dancing and singing 
before the idols. 

The Pidwati Gollas, also called Pusalwad (pedlars), are the 
lowest of the Golla sub-castes. They lead a sort of nomadic life, 
moving from place to place and retailing, in villages, glass beads, 
sham corals, trinkets, needles, thread, tape, \un\um (red aniline 
powder) and other articles which they procure at the bazars in the 
cities. 

Of these sub-castes, only the Yera, Paknati, Adi, Mushti, 
Sadnam, Mudra, Puja, Kame, and Gampa interdine. All eat from 
the hands of the Gujarathi Gollas who are, as already mentioned, 
regarded as the highest of the Gollas. TTie Modati, Paykani, 
Padapotolo, and Manda Gollas subsist by begging alms of the Yera 
and other higher Golla tribes. 



GOLLA 209 

The' exogamous sections into which the sub-castes are broken up 
are of the totemistic type. The totems comprise the names of trees, 
plants cind animals and, it has been ascertained, are generally taboo 
to the members of the sections bearing their names. A member of 
the Wankfl^alu section will not touch nor injure the wanka])alu (egg- 
plant or brinjal — Solarium Melongena) nor eat its fruit. So, also, a 
member of the Shzishila section will not touch, injure or kill a 
shashilu (serpent). Some of the sections are worth noticing as being 
of peculiar formation and possessing curious beliefs and usages. 

1. The Shalandalu section. — Members belonging to this do 

, not use turmeric coloured rice in their marriages. 

2. Tffe Kanya Sarolu section. — The parents of a boy belong- 

ing to this section will not make the first proposals 
towards the settlement of their son's marriage. 

3. The Surwala section. — Members of this will never milk 

into an empty vessel, i.e., they will put at least a little 
water into the vessel before milking. 

4. The Tanala section. — It is essential for a member of this 
• section that, while on pilgrimage, he should bathe stealth- 
ily in tirtha (holy-water) or, in other words, he should 
avoid attracting the attention of the Tirtha Brahmans and 
paying their dakshina (fees). Should a Brahman detect 
him while bathing and demand his fees, it is believed that 
all the merit he acquires by his holy trip disappears. 

5. The Basutolu section.— Members of this worship the plant 

basutolu, from which they receive their name, on Sun- 
days, or at the commencement of sowing operations, or 
before they sell a sheep, with offerings of flowers and 
sweet dishes. 
The section name descends in the male line. The rule of 
exogamy requires a man not to many a woman of his own section, but 
it does not preclude him from marrying a girl of his mother's section. 
A man may marry two sisters, but two brothers cannot marry two 
sisters. He may also marry the daughter of his elder sister, or of h.s 
mother's brother, but not of his father's sister. 

Marriage—Except among the Puja Gollas, who practise both 

14 



210 GOLLA 

infant and adult marriages, the Golla girls are married before they 
have attained the age of puberty. Boys and girls, as has been 
already mentioned in connection with the Yera Golla sub-caste, are 
dedicated to temples and married to the deities Mallanna and Raj 
Rajeshwar, such dedicated boys being called Waghes or Mallannas 
and the girls Parwatis or Murlis. Signs of a girl's 
puberty in her father's house forebodes no good to her brothers, 
and she is immediately sent, with her face covered with a blanket, to 
her husband's house. Cohabitation before the girl matures 
is allowed, on the performance of a ceremony, when forty seers 
of rice are cooked and caste-people are feasted, clothes and jewels 
being presented to the girl and her husband on the occcision. Poly- 
gamy is permitted theoretically, without limit, but is restricted in 
practice to two wives, the second wife being taken only in case the 
first wife is barren, or incurably diseased. 

Marriage — The marriage ceremony is of the usual type. Pro- 
posals of marriage are made to the girl's parents and, if they are 
accepted, the bridegroom's father goes to the bride's house, and per- 
forms Supa Idam (ceremony of betrothal). In the presence ot the caste 
Pancha\)at, he makes a turmeric spot on the girl's forehead, presents 
her with wadibium and declares that he has approved of the girl and 
has accepted her for his son. In the Pedda or Gatii Idam, the 
boy's father pays to the parents of the girl the bride-price, amounting 
to Rs. 12, and makes a present of a new sari and choli to the girl, 
the ceremony being concluded with a drink and a feast to the bride- 
groom's party. The Gollas celebrate the Praihanam ceremonial, 
at which a curved ring, sanctified by a Brahman and blessed 
by elderly relatives, is solemnly put on the girl's right hand 
ring finger. On this occasion, the girl receives from her hus- 
band-elect, wedding gifts consisting of jewels and clothes. The 
ritual that follows closely resembles that performed at a Kapu 
marriage and needs no separate mention. Kanyadan, or the formal 
gift of the bride to the bridegroom and his formal acceptance of her, 
is believed to be the essential portion of the ceremony. In the 
Nagbali ceremony, which constitutes their Kulachar, the Golla bride- 
groom, with a plough and oth^r implements of husbandry, goes a 



GOLLA 211 

little distance from the marriage booth and furrows the soil, in which 
he sows navadhan^a, or nine sorts of seed grains. His young wife, 
in the meanwhile, brings him bread and water, as she would do in 
actual manied life. 

The Paknati Gollas of the Carnatic have some curious cere- 
monials among them. During the course of the wedding, a quantity 
of ghi is distributed in three vessels. Two of these are offered to the 
parents of the wedded, couple, who quaff their contents. A relative 
of the bridegroom is required to drink the ghi in the third vessel. 
On the Nagbali day, in the Carnatic, the bride and bridegroom, 
seated side, by side, are bathed in a polu, formed of a jawari 
square with a vessel of water at each corner, the vessels being 
encircled by a raw cotton thread. The parties, after the bath, 
exchange their garments, the bridegroom wearing the clothes of the 
bride and the bride attired in those of her husband and, thus dressed, 
fetch, in procession, water from a village well. This ceremony over, 
their maternal uncles mount them on their hips respectively and jump 
and prance like horses, and as they cross each other the bridal pair 
throw red powder {abhir and gulal) by the handful on each other's 
person. 

Puberty. — A Golla girl, on attaining puberty, is considered 
unclean for eleven or thirteen days, and the ceremonial observed 
among members of this caste more or less resembles that prevailing 
among other Telugu castes. During this period, she has to occupy 
a separate room, fitted for the purpose, where she is scrupulously 
screened by a curtain from the evil gaze of strangers. A wooden 
puppet, clothed and decorated, and a sword, are kept by her side 
and are her constant companions throughout. She is sumptuously 
feasted all the time for the first five days by her husband's 
people and for the remaining days by her mother and her relatives. 
On the fifth day after menstruation, she receives her first bath. 
A female barber attends upon her on the occasion, smears her with 
turmeric paste and oil, and pares her nails. Married women present 
her with wadibium. On the eleventh day, she receives her last 
bath and is then ceremonially clean. 

Widow=Marriage. — The Gollas allow a widow to marry again, 



212 GOLLA 

but do not require her to many her deceased husband's younger 
brother. She may, however, marry the husband of her elder sister. 
When a widow marries again, the bridegroom is required to give her 
parents half the exf>enses they incurred on her first marriage. The 
ritual ordained for the marriage of a widow is of the simplest 
character. The bridegroom gives her a white sari, some bangles and 
a pair of toe rings. He ties a pusti round her neck and this forms the 
binding portion of the ceremony. He then provides a feast to his 
friends and relatives and the ceremony ends. In the Carnatic, a widow 
bride, dressed in white, is first led by other widows to a temple, and 
thence, after she has put on, with her own hands, th^ 'pusti round 
her neck, she is conducted to the house of the bridegroom; TTio 
pair, thereupon, bathe and become husband and wife. Divorce is 
permitted, on the ground of the wife's adultery or disobedience, and is 
effected as follows. The husband gives the offending woman a white 
sari, daubs red lead on her forehead and removes the upper garment 
from off her head. This done she is deprived of her pusti and 
IS expelled from the house in the presence of the caste P^anchayat. 
Divorced women are allowed to marry again by the same rites as 
widows. Adultery with a man of her own caste, or with one of a 
higher caste, is condoned by a small fine and the matter is hushed up. 
An intrigue with a lower caste man does not admit of such tolerance 
and the adulterous woman is instantly expelled from the caste. 

Religion._The favourite deity of the Gollas is Mallaiina, 
worshipped every Sunday and on the light 14th of Magh 
(January-February), with offerings of sweetmeats, flowers, milk 
and curds. On the Til Sankrant holiday, when the sun enters the 
sign of Capricorn, the god is worshipped with great pomp in every 
Golla household. Garlands of zendu flowers (marigold), hung 
over painted pots containing milk and curds, represent the deity, to 
whom red lead, sweet dishes, and flowers are offered by every 
member of the community. The dog, which is sacred to Mallanah, 
is fed on the occasion. A loaf is coated with curds, one piece 
of it is thrown to a dog, another is offered to the son and the third 
is cast on the top of the house. 

Another deity, characteristic of the Golla caste, is the river 



GOLLA 213 

goddess Ganga (^erudu), propitiated with great ceremony on a 
moonlight night in the month of Shravan (July-August). In the 
sheepfold situated outside the village, a square piece of ground is 
plastered clean with cowdung and adorned with fine patterns of 
kunkum and lime-stone powder. Over this ground, which is bor- 
dered by flint pebbles and surrounded by green boughs, a small 
bower of tangade-chellu twigs {Cassia amiculata) is erected. The 
goddess is installed in. the centre of the bower, being represented by 
a branch of the rut plant (Calotropis gigantea), a pitcher of water and 
a sharp-edged iron-blade resembling a knife. The puja done to these 
fetishes consists mainly of animal sacrifices. The eldest and most 
respectable member of the community, called Saokar Lacha^y^a by 
the Puja Gollas Palwancha, acts as the priest of the deity, brings 
forward the sacrificial animal (sheep), daubs its forehead with red 
lead and decapitates it at one stroke before the deity. The blood of 
the animal is sprinkled over the deity, its skin is interred in front of 
the bower and its flesh is cooked and partaken of by the devotees. 
It is said that the votaries spend the remainder of the night in 
drinking, singing and merry-making. Women generally keep them- 
selves aloof from this festival. 

Pochamma, Maisamma, Ellama, Nagalu and a host of minol 
gods and spirits are appeased by the Gollas with sacrifices of goats, 
sheep, fowls and sometimes buffaloes. Reverence is paid to the 
souls of decezised ancestors and, if a new ancestor dies, and his 
reappearance in this world in a spirit form is apprehended, his image 
is stamped upon a metal plate and included among the domestic gods. 

The religion of the Gollas, saturated with animism, is gradually 
drifting towards Hinduism, under the sectarian influences of the Shri- 
vaishnava and Aradhi Brahmans. The Gollas are divided between 
Titmanidharis and Vibhutidharis. They worship all the Hindu gods 
and observe all the Hindu festivals. Brahmans are called in on religious 
and ceremonial occasions and for the performance of the Satya 
Narayan worship. Gauramma is honoured by females in the lunar 
half of the month of Kartika (October-November). 

Child-Birth A Golla woman is impure for twenty-one days 

subsequent to child-birth. A female barber generally attends upon 



2 1 4 GOLLA 

her, as midwife, and cuts the umbilical cord which, enclosed in an 
earthen pot, is buried near the bed. On the third day after birth, 
Purud is celebrated, at which five leafy plates, containing small 
heaps of cooked rice with lighted lamps on them, are worshipped 
and given away to the midwife. On the twenty-first day the 
mother bathes, besmears the well with ^un^um, draws water and 
is free from all ceremonial impurity. 

Disposal of the Dead — The Gollas, as' a rule, bury their dead 
in a lying posture, with the head turned towards the south. After the 
grave has been filled up, the principal mourner walks three times 
round it, carrying an earthen pot of water on his shoulder*. At the third 
round he drops the vessel on the ground and returns home, followed 
by all the relatives attending the funeral. On the third day after 
death, the relatives offer food at the grave and wait till it is touched 
by a crow, which indicates that the offering has been accepted by the 
hovering soul of tbe deceased. The Gollas observe mourning for 
their adult dead for ten or fifteen days, and for children for three days. 
On the fifteenth day libations of til water (tilodak) and balls, of cooked 
rice are offered to the manes and a funeral feast is provided for the 
caste people. Sradha is performed on the Pitra AmaWassa, or the 
last day of Bhadrapad (middle of September). The bodies of females 
are laid m the grave face downwards and those of pregnant women are 
burnt. It is observed that the usage of cremation is deemed the more 
respectable and is frequently resorted to by the higher classes of the 
Golla community. 

Social Status — The social status of the Gollas cannot be 
precisely defiried. The Erra, Paknati, Mushti, Sadnam and Adi 
Gollas are ranked with the Kapu, Velama, Munnur, and other culti- 
vating castes. The Yaya Gollas occupy a lower position, while the 
Modati, Pidwati, Manda and other inferior groups are looked down 
upon as degraded castes whose touch causes impurity. On the other 
hand, the Gujarathi Gollas affect a high standard of ceremonial purity, 
and regard themselves as being higher than the other Golla castes. 
The Gollas drink fermented and spirituous liquors and eat the flesh of 
goats, sheep, deer, fowls, fish, pigs and lizards. They eat the 
leavings of a Brahman's meal. 



GOLLA 215 

Occupation. — The GoUas believe their original occupation to be 
the tending and breeding of cows, sheep and other domestic animals, 
the making of butter and the dealing in milk and milch cattle. Unlike 
the Kurmas, they do not weave blankets, an occupation which they 
deem degrading to them. Many have taken, of late, to cultivation 
and trade, and by the acquirement of wealth have raised themselves to 
great importance. They are both pattedars and landless day labour- 
ers. A few have bsen educated and, under the title of 'Pillays' 
(Madras), hold eminent positions as Government servants, pleaders, 
doctors and in other branches of the learned professions. The GoUas 
do not w^^ the sacred thread. 

Distribution — The following statement shows the number and 
distribution of the Gollas in 1911 : — 



Hyderabad City 

Atrafi Balda 

Warangal 

Kstf'imnagar 

Adilabad . . . 

Medak 

Nizamabad 

Mahbubnagar 

Nalgunda 

Aurangabad 

Bhir 

Nander 

Parbhani 

Gulbargah... 

Usmanabad 

Raichur 

Bidar 



Males. 


Females. 


1,866 


1,781 


14,689 


14,601 


35,652 


33,394 


42.472 


39.245 


• 4,875 


4,872 


17,498 


17,201 


12,699 


12,663 


31,793 


31,751 


53,099 


50,820 


11 


9 


7,009 


6,930 


30 


34 


2.057 


1,973 


12 


7 


10,088 


10.096 


765 


754 



XXXUI 

GOND 

Gond — a non-Aryan tribe, whose featu'res, complexion and 
traces of totemism in their sections mark them as being of Dravidian 
descent. They inhabit the wild and mountainous tract of the Adilabad 
District which, flowing in a line parallel to the Paina Q'anga river, 
turns abruptly northward and, running between the Kinwat and 
Adilabad Talukas, sweeps into the Wun District of Berar. 
This region, which once formed a portion of the territory known as 
Gondawana, consists of a succession of hill ranges covered with 
dense forests of salai (BosWellia thmijera), sag or teak (Tedona 
grandis), mahua (Bassia latifoUa) and other wild trees. Occasionally, in 
a mountain gorge, or on a hill side in an open spot, a Gond village 
stands surrounded by patches of cultivated land. The village consists 
almost entirely of huts of wattled bamboos. 

Character Owing to their secluded jungle life, the Gonds 

are a very shy, timid and retiring race. Towards strangers they first 
assume an attitude of reserve and suspicion, but once they get over 
their shyness, they become very hospitable and communicative, ll 
is generally reported, by those well acquainted with their habits, that 
where the Gonds have not come under the influence of the inhabi- 
tants of the plains, they bear a high character for honesty and truth- 
fulness. The men are, however, strongly addicted to drink, are very 
indolent and show a great dislike to methodical work. In a Gond 
village, one is struck at the sight of the males sitting idle, with no 
interest in work, while the females are toiling hard from morning 
till night at all kinds of indoor and outdoor work. 

Physical Characteristics — The predominating physical charac- 
teristics of the tribe are, a short flat nose with spreading nostrils, 
black and sparkling eyes, thick and projecting lower lips, generally 
scanty beards and moustaches and complexions varying from jet black 



GoND 217 

to dark brown. Of a strongly built, muscular frame, capable of great 
endurance, the male averages 5 ft. 4 in. in height ; both sexes possess 
an erect carriage and a peculiar gait of long and fast strides. 

Dress and Ornaments — The Gonds are scantily dressed. A 
strip of cloth, neeirly a yard long, passed between the legs and 
fastened, before and behind, to a string around the waist, and a rag 
tied round the head, make up the complete dress of the male. The 
dress of a woman consists of one long piece of white, or coloured 
cloth, girt round the loins, the lower half of which hangs to the knees, 
the ends being passed between the legs and fastened behind, while 
the upper \^\{ is carried across the breast and over the left shoulder 
which, however, barely covers the breast. The women wear no 
bodice or petticoat. Their coarse black hair is collected behind 
in a knot, sometimes artificially enlarged and decked with wild 
flowers. Tattooing is very fashionable and their chest, arms and 
back are covered with most fantastic designs. A mass of very small 
black and white beads and mock corals, worked to form a necklace, 
adorn their necks and large brass ear-rings are worn in their distended 
ear-lobes. On their wrists they wear huge bracelets of pewter or 
bell-metal. 

Origin. — The origin of the Gonds is obscure and their tradi- 
tions throw no light upon their tribal affinities. " The name Gond 
or Gund," says Mr. Hislop, " seems to be a form of Kond or Kund. 
Both forms are most probably connected with the Telugu equivalent 
for a mountain, and therefore signify Konda Wanlu, or hill people. 
This name they must have borne for many ages, for we find 
them mentioned by Ptolemy, the geographer (A.D. 150), under the 
name of Gondaloi." A popular legend traces the origin of the 
tribe to the Pandav prince Bhimsen and the demon damsel Hedumba 
of Mahabharat fame. It is said that Hedumba gave birth to five 
sons simultaneously, £md was so disgusted at this unnatural event 
that she deserted the infants to their fate. In their helpless condi- 
tion, they were found by Mahadev, who took compassion on them 
and consigned them to the care of Parvati. She took charge of the 
infants, but nourished them at her left breast only. Even the divine 
nursing could not subdue their inborn tendencies towards cannibalism. 



218 GoND 

for these monstrous infants begcin to imbibe, along with the milk, the 
very life blood of Parvati's body which, in consequence, wasted day 
by day. Mahadev, alarmed at her emaciation, divined its cause and 
confined the wretches in a mountain cave. From this they were 
rescued by Pedlingu, a renowned sage, who, henceforth, became 
their preceptor, related to them their past history and initiated them 
into the worship of their forefathers. The four elder brothers became 
the founders of the four important sections of ^e tribe : (1) Satdeva 
(worshipping 7 minor deities, i.e., 5 Pandavas, Kunti and Draupadi) ; 
(2) Sahadeo (worshipping 6 minor deities, i.e., 5 Pandavas and their 
wife Draupadi) ; (3) Pachdeo (worshipping 5 minor dejfies, i.e., 5 
Pandavas) ; (4) Chardeo (worshipping 4 Pandavas, the 
youngest being dropped). The youngest of the brothers was appointed, 
under the name of Pardhan or Pathadi, the family bard and genealo- 
gist to his elder brothers, on whose charity he was ordained to subsist. 
This legend, so absurd in its conception, goes to illustrate how myths 
are devised by aboriginal tribes to glorify their origin, while in 
process of transition into the Hindu castes. 

The Gonds of Adilabad are divided into six sub-tribes : (1) Raj 
Gond or Gond, (2) Pardhan, (3) Thoti, (4) Dadve, (5) Gowari, (6) 
Kolam, which are all endogamous. The terms Raj Gond and Gond, 
formerly used to distinguish the ruling classes from the bulk of the 
people, have now become synonymous, the poorest Gond calling 
himself a Raj Gond. This change was probably brought about after 
the Raj Gonds had ceased to be a ruling power and had sunk into 
political insignificance. A tendency is still observed among the upper 
classes of the sub-tribe, to hold themselves socially aloof from the 
masses, and a sort of hypergamy has sprung up between the two, the 
former accepting the daughters of the latter in marriage, but showing 
reluctance to give their own in return. Some of the Raj Gond famil- 
ies, which belonged to the Gond Rajas, have, by reason of their 
long contact with the more civilized communities of the plains, so 
far advanced towards Hinduism that they actually lay claims to a 
Rajput descent. They profess to follow the Hindu religion, rele- 
gatmg their ancient tribal customs to their women, employ Brahmans 
for religious and ceremonial purposes, practise infant marriage and 



GoND 219 

prohibit widow-marriage and divorce. These facts clearly indicate 
that disintegrating forces are at work, tending to split up the sub-tribe 
into two endogamous groups, one of which may, in course of time, 
become entirely a Hindu caste. Regarding the origin of the Raj 
Gonds, Mr. C. Scanlan (" Indian Antiquities," Vol. I, page 54) 
remarks: "Concerning their origin, it is said that while a Rajput 
prince was once out hunting he espied a goddess perched on a rock 
enjoying the wild scenery of the country. They became enamoured 
of each other and were blessed with a son, who was the ancestor 
of the Gonds, and since he claimed his origin from a goddess and a 
Rajput, tLey style themselves Raj Gonds and Gond Thakurs." 

The Pardhans or Pathadis are the helots of the Gonds, and 
serve as genealogists and bards to the Raj Gonds, singing the exploits 
and great deeds of their rajas and heroes to the music of a kind of 
violin called hp^gri. This musical instrument is regarded, amongst 
them, as a mark of distinction which each Pardhan is bound to 
possess, or have tattooed on his left fore-arm. No marriage of 
a Raj Gond is celebrated, nor are his death rites performed, unless a 
Pardhan is present to receive the marriage presents, or to claim the 
raiments of the dead. 

The Thotis, the bards of Pardhan, form a group of wandering 
minstrels. Their male members are mainly engaged in making small 
bamboo articles and in selling medicinal herbs, while the females 
are skilful tattooers. These three sub-tribes, resembling one another 
in every respect, appear to have once formed a single group, subse- 
quently broken up on account of internal disorganisation, the Pardhans 
being an offshoot of the Raj Gonds and the Thotis that of the Pardhans. 
The Dadve formerly recruited the armies of the Gond Rajas, but now 
they work as day labourers. The Gowaris tend milch cattle and 
for this reason dwell in villages outlying the hill tracts. Their long 
association with the neighbouring Hindus, has so far affected their 
character and customs, that they are often found merged into the 
lower castes of Hindus and cut off from their own tribe. 

Very dark of skin and short of stature, possessing habits of the 
most primitive character, the Kolam presents a fair specimen of the 
pure Dravidian type. He constructs his tiny bamboo cottage on the 



220 



GoND 



crest of the highest hill, and so migratory is he that on the least alarm 
he shifts his quarters to the most inaccessible part of a mountain. He 
is very ugly in features and filthy in habits, never bathing for days 
together. He speaks a dialect called Kolami, vifhich differs con- 
siderably from the other Gond dialects. In customs and usages, the 
Kolams resemble the Raj Goods, to whose Rajas they pay homage 
and submit their internal quarrels for decision. All these facts 
taken together help to the conclusion, that thes6 sub-tribes are essen- 
tially the branches of a formerly compact tribe, of which the Raj 
Gonds represent the original nucleus. This view derives support 
from the fact that each of the sub-tribes is divided intjt' the same 
exogamous septs. 

Internal Structure — The following table gives the exogamous 
sections of the tribe, with the founder's name, totem and sub-septs, 
or families, which each sept comprises : — 



Sept 



Chitdeva (those 
worshipping four 
deities). 



PAchdeo (wor- 
shipping five 
minor deities). 



S&hadeo (wor- 
shipping six minor 
deities). 



Found" 



ler s name. 



Sedm&kee 



ICumbhara. 



Totem. 



Tortoise, croco- 
dile and ghor- 
por (iguana). 



Atra 



Porcupine 

Saras. 



Tiger. 



and 



S^tdeo (worship- 
ping seven minor 
deities). 



Metrim. 



Serpent and 
porcupine. 



Names of the sub- 
septs, or families 
sprung from the 
sept. 

Seedam, Sedma- 
kee, Tilanda, 
Naitam, Par- 

chaki, Sahakathi, 
Tekam, Kowa, 
Pusim. 

Ade, Soyiim, 

Surpam, Al£m, 
God^m, Madpati, 
Kinake, Padram, 
Karpetta, Mal- 
dongre, Jtmgna, 

Kotnaka, Pendor, 
Mandaleo, Salam, 
Kochala, Here- 
kurma, Kulmeta, 
Kodopa, Veladi, 
Yerm4, Foor- 

koor, Raisidam, 
Tolsam, Uikya, 
Torya, ICadam, 
Ged&m, Kadnee, 
Korenga_ 

Madave, Dhurve, 
iCanh&k&, Kor- 
wet&, Knrsenga, 
Maraskola. 



GoND 221 

All the septs are clearly totemistic, although they do not bear 
the names of the totems associated with them. The totem is taboo 
to the members of the sept to which it belongs, e.g., a Seedam holds 
the tortoise in the highest reverence and will neither eat, kill, injure 
or even touch it. It is really noteworthy that while the totems and 
the founders' names have been preserved, the totemistic neunes of 
the septs have been dropped, and replaced by fabulous titles. This 
indicates an attempt, pn the part of the Hinduised Gonds, to convert 
totemistic titles into eponymous ones and thus give colour to their 
pretensions for a mythical origin of an orthodox type. The sept 
name goep by the male side. The rule of exogamy is strictly 
followed. Thus a man cannot marry a woman of his own sept. No 
other sept is, however, a bar to marriage, provided that he does not 
marry his aunt, his first cousin, or his niece. 

Marriage. — The Gonds marry their daughters both before and 
after the age of puberty. The former is, however, preferred by the 
more respectable members of the tribe. 

Polygamy prevails and, in theory, there is no limit to the number 
of wives a man may marry. Sexual indiscretions, before marriage, 
are indulgently treated. If a girl becomes pregnant before marriage, 
she is called upon to disclose the name of her lover, and he is 
forced to accept the girl as his wife • On the other hand, sexual 
indiscretion with an outsider involves instant expulsion from the tribe. 
Two forms of marriage are recognised by the Gonds. 

(I) The more polite or regular form necessitates the consent 
of the parents of both parties. The father, or gujurdian, of the bride- 
groom takes the initiative and, when a girl is selected by him, he 
proceeds, formally, to the house of her parents to make the proposal 
of marriage on behalf of his son or ward. In the preliminary nego- 
tiations the question of the bride-price (varying from Rs. 9 to Rs. 20) 
takes a prominent part. Every thing having been ananged to the 
satisfaction of both parties, all the male members repair to a liquor 
shop and solemnize the betrothal with a drink, at the expense of the 
bridegroom's father. A singular custom requires every man before 
drinking the liquor to cry out " Ram Ram," an omission of which 
involves social disgrace. The caste people are then entertained at a 



222 GoND 

feast. On this occasion, the bridegroom's father contributes a cock 
and the bride's father a hen ; the boy's father places a pewter bracelet 
on the girl's wrist and this completes the ceremony of betrothal. On 
the day previous to the wedding, the bride's family escort her to the 
bridegroom's village where, on arrival, they are established under 
a shady tree and are met, towards evening, by the party of the 
bridegroom. As a mark of greeting, gruel and onions are exchanged 
by both parties. The whole company then goes in procession to the 
bridegroom's house. The bride and bridegroom are next alternately 
smeared three times with a paste of oil and turmeric, and bathed 
in warm water. The rest of the night is spent in feasting, music, 
singing and dancing. Early next morning, in the courtjard of the 
house, a canopy of mahua (Bassia latijolia) and salai {BosWellia 
thurijera) leaves is erected and, underneath it, five earthen jars of 
water, crowned with lighted lamps, are arranged in the form of a 
quincunx on a square drawn of jawari flour. 

The following plan illustrates the arrangement : — 
b b 




b b 

h. Water pots. 
An earthen vessel full of water, and covered with a concave 
lid, is placed on the cowdung hill of the house, in the open air, and 
after being solemnly worshipped is left guarded by two girls. This 
ceremony over, the bridegroom, dressed in cotton clothes dyed yellow 
with turmeric, armed with a spear and accompanied by music, which 
IS most discordant, is led by his relatives and friends to the cowdung 
hill, one of the females bearing, on her head, a sacred lamp. The 
bride, similarly attired and attended, joins him and the bridal pair 
stand opposite each other near the consecrated earthen pot, the bride- 
groom facing east and the bride west. A curtain is held between 
them, and the bridegroom places his right foot upon a wooden stool, 
placed beneath the curtain, the bride simultaneously touching it 



GoND 223 

with her' own. Then follows the essentia! portion of the ceremony, 
when the bridegroom, with his right foot resting on that of the bride, 
puts an iron ring on the little finger of her right hand. The screen 
is withdrawn and the wedding procession returns to the booth, where 
the bridal pair are bathed with water taken from the sacred earthen 
pots previously deposited. After changing their wedding clothes, the 
happy couple walk five times round the pots, the sacred lamp burn- 
ing all the while. They afterwards sit side by side on the floor, 
with their faces turned towards the east. Grains of rice are then 
showered upon their heads by the assembled guests. The bride- 
price is then paid and a present of clothes made to the girl's parents. 
A feast to the caste, at the expense of the bridegroom's parents, com- 
pletes the marriage ceremony. The bride's father, on his departure, 
is decorated with a garland of twenty-five cowdung cakes with a 
sheep's leg pendant in the centre. 

The second form, representing marriage by capture, is resorted 
to by those Gonds, who are too poor to pay the bride-price, or to 
bear the subsequent expenses. This custom is in full force emiong 
the Goilds of the hilly districts, though it is dying out in the plains 
owing to the rigours of the law. A girl having been selected, and 
all information regarding her daily movements having been gathered, 
the friends of the boy proceed to her village, and lie m concealment 
close to the place she is expected to visit. In the meanwhile, an 
elder relative of the bridegroom, generally his father or brother, goes 
into the village, and wins the assent of the headman to the match on 
payment of Rs. 2. He then joins his comrades. On the girl 
making her appearance, sometimes alone, but often in company with 
others, he falls upon her all of a sudden and touches her hand. This 
effected, the marriage contract becomes irrevocable, even if the girl 
escapes from his hands. Great resistance to this capture is often 
offered by the women present, and the man is chastised in right 
earnest. Stones and other missiles close at hand are freely hurled, 
and the man is often severely injured ; but the custom allows the 
women to accept a bribe, for more polite reception, and in such 
cases the girl is borne away in tears to the boy's house and there 
married in the absence of her parents. 



224 GoND 

Widow=Marriage — A widow is required to marry' her late 
husband's younger brother, if alive, but, on his refusal, if her choice 
falls upon an outsider, no restriction is imposed upon her. In the 
latter case, however, she forfeits all claims to the custody of the 
children by her late husband. Infants at the breast are allowed 
to remain with their mothers, on the express condition that they will 
be restored to their father's family on their attaining a marriageable 
age. The ritual followed on a widow's re-marriage is of a simple 
character. Late in the evening, the woman goes to the house of her 
husband elect. In the court-yard a stool is placed, on which the 
bridegroom takes his seat. The bride bedaubs his body vvith oil and 
turmeric, and bathes him with warm water, and with tHe remaining 
water she bathes herself. Both of them wear white clothes and 
enter the inner court-yard, where the bride seats herself on a wooden 
stool, and the bridegroom ties a string of black beads round her 
neck and smears red lead powder on her forehead. The proceedings 
terminate with a feast. 

Divorce — Divorce is very common amongst the Gonds, in 
which both husbands and wives freely indulge. Elopements are of 
daily occurrence. A woman taking a fancy to a man, simply runs 
away with him, and if the aggrieved husband is a rich man, he imme- 
diately marries another wife, and there the matter ends. But should 
the husband be <. poor man, he merely claims the bride-price paid 
for her. as a virgin, from the paramour of the unfaithful wife, and 
with the amount thus obtained he is at liberty to marry another 
woman. Divorced women are allowed to marry again by the same 
ritual as widows. 

Religion — The religion of the Gonds is animism, which 
flourishes, in its pristine vigour, among the inhabitants of the hilly 
tracts, although it is gradually losing ground among those of the 
plains. The principal deity of the Raj Gonds, Pardhans and Thotis 
is Phersaphen (great god), who is acknowledged to be the supreme 
god of the universe, and is worshipped with great veneration and awe, 
under the names of Zonkari, Jalgidar, &c. The emblems of the 
god vary with the locality of the worshipper, but generally consist 
of small iron pieces, resembling arrow-heads, each a span in length. 



GoND 225 

corresponding in number to the minor gods of the worshipper, which, 
enclosed in an earthen pot, with its mouth closed by a bamboo basket, 
are hung on a mahu€i tree (Bassia latijoUa) at some distance from the 
village. The priest, called hptddd is a Raj Gond, who officiates at 
sacrifices to the god and keeps guard over the sacred pot. No woman 
or stranger is allowed to cast a glance upon the tree bearing the 
sacred pot, or to go anywhere near it. 

Phersapen is worshipped once a year with great pomp and 
ceremony. It is generally on an evening in the month of Chait 
(March-April) that a sacrifice of goats and fowls is offered to the god, 
at the foot i»f the sacred tree, after which the emblems are taken 
down by the priest, who is clothed in red, and mounted on a bamboo 
pole. They are then carried in procession, headed by the Pardhans, 
with music, to some big river or tank where they are solemnly washed. 
Close to the village, a canopy is erected for the occasion, under which 
a branch of the salai tree (BosWellia thurijera) is planted, and it is 
here that the bamboo pole, bearing the sacred arrow-heads, is 
deposited. . Frankincense is burnt before these emblems and cows, 
goats, and fowls are freely sacrificed by the officiating priest, on 
behalf of the community as a whole, and of individual members in 
pursuance of vows taken in times of trouble. Formerly, human 
sacrifices were offered on this occasion, but the rigours of law have 
now put an end to this. The flesh of the slaughtered animals is then 
cooked and the rest of the night is spent in feasting, dancing and 
revelry. The ceremonies are conducted with great secrecy and no 
Hindu, or Gond woman is allowed to be present. Towards the 
dawn of the following day, the emblems are taken back to the tree, 
and restored to their accustomed place. 

Next in rank is Bhimsen, or Bhivsen, the favourite and charac- 
teristic deity of the Kolam and Dadve Gonds, represented by an 
oblong piece of mahm wood, 4 ft. in length, and daubed with sesame 
oil. With one end fixed in the ground and the other covered with 
peacock feathers, the god is set up upright, in a bamboo hut outside 
the village. He is propitiated twice a year, in the month of 
Vaishakha (April-May) and on Til Sankrdnf (when the sun enters 
Capricorn), with offerings of goats, fowls and cows, which afterwards 
'3 



226 GoND 

furnish a feast for the assembled votaries. A Kolam priest presides • 
on this occasion ; to the sound of a drum and cymbals and to the 
jingling of little bells worn in a belt round the waist, he dances and 
sings alternately, in honour of the deity. Every three years, the 
symbol of the god is carried to the Godavari river for ablution. 

The worship of Bhimsen, formerly confined to the Gonds alone, 
is fast spreading, and Hindus of all orders now hold this animistic 
deity in reverence. A legend is already current identifying this god 
with the Pandav prince Bhimsen and giving him a seat in the Hindu 
pantheon. This furnishes a good example of the unconscious recep- 
tion of animistic deities into the ranks of the Hindu gods. 

The Gowaris reverence Kanhoba, an incarnation* of Vishnu, 
in whose honour they observe a fast on Jamndshtami, the 8th of the 
dark half of Shravan (July-August). In addition to the principal 
deities mentioned above, a host of evil spirits and minor gods are 
appeased by the Gonds. The former include the goddesses of 
cholera, smallpox, fever, &c., and other malevolent spirits, all of 
which must be conciliated in one form or another, in order to avert 
calamities proceeding from them. Among the latter are :* (1) Jangu 
Rai Tad, a blood-thirsty goddess dwelling in a dark and dreary cave, 
near the village of Sakada in the Jangaon Taluka. The goddess is 
said to have been wedded to Bhimsen in an adjoining cave and, if 
duly propitiated, is credited with bringing good luck to her devotees. 
She once insisted on demanding human lives as the only sacrifice 
acceptable to her ; but, since the establishment of a vigilant police, 
and the strong rule of law, she is quite content with the blood of 
kine and goats. The terrific form of Bhimsen is represented by 
a fire burning constantly in a cave on the Dantapalli hill. The god is 
generally invoked by offerings of animals, before the commencement 
of agricultural operations, at the sowing season, and before the 
harvest is gathered in. It is also worshipped should the rains fail 
and a drought continue. Bhimanna is also worshipped at Gololi, 
m the form of a shaft fixed in the ground. It is rather curious that 
the priests of these two cults never meet. Serpent worship prevails 
and, in the month of Magh (February-March), a big fair is held in 
lionour of the serpent god at Kesalapur, when a huge sacrifice if 



GoND 227 

offered at 'the altar. Thousands of goats and fowls are slaughtered 
on that day, and the blood-thirsty god is not satisfied until the altar 
is completely filled with blood. The votaries believe that not a 
drop of blood remains about the altar the following morning. 

The Gonds have a strong belief in witchcraft. Witches are 
supposed to hold communion with the dark spirits ; they meet 
them in the forest at night and dance and sing with them in a nude 
condition. Brahmans are not employed by the Gonds, either for 
religious or ceremonial purposes. 

Disposal of the Dead — After death, the bodies of persons 
who are married are burnt, and the unmarried, or those dying of small- 
pox or cholera, are buried. On the death of a Gond, his relatives 
and friends assemble at his house, where the body is carefully 
washed and, dressed in a white cloth, is placed on a bamboo bier 
and borne by four men, not changing hands, to the cremation ground. 
The chief mourner heads the procession, bearing in one hand a sling, 
with a triangular bamboo bottom, in which is placed an earthen pot 
filled with burning cowdung cakes, and in the other an axe with 
the head reversed on the handle. The corpse is laid on the funeral 
pyre, which is kindled with the cowdung cakes. When the pyre is 
well alight the chief mourner performs an ablution, and filling the 
earthen vessel with water walks with it three times round the pile. 
When the fire has nearly burnt down, he throws the axe three times 
over the pyre and, taking it with him, goes to a river or tank, followed 
by the bier bearers and other relatives. Having bathed, they adjourn 
to a liquor shop, rub the mahua refuse with the big toe of the right 
foot, and apply the soot of the furnace to their forehead with the 
little finger of the right hand. The liquor seller sprinkles them 
with country spirit, after which they sit down and drink. This over, 
they leave the axe with the liquor seller and return to the house of 
the deceased. On arrival, they are received at the door by a female 
relative of the deceased and sprinkled over with water from an 
earthen pot, into which a burning coal has been previously 
thrown. Next morning, all the relatives, male and female, holding 
mango twigs, visit the burning ground. A cow is sacrificed on the 
spot where the corpse was burnt, and the spirit of the dead is 



228 GoND 

invoked to accept the offering and be satisfied. Each person 
present makes five turns round the pyre, collecting the scattered ashes 
with the mango tv^fig. As on the preceding day, the mourners bathe, 
drink, and return home. On the afternoon of the third day, the male 
members of the family repair to a grove of mahua trees adjoining the 
village. A square foot of ground is plastered with cowdung and 
before it are arranged small heaps of uncooked rice, as many in 
number as the minor gods of the deceased. A fowl (a cock or hen 
according to the sex of the dead) is decapitated and the spot covered 
with its blood ; the head is left before the heaps of rice and the body 
is cooked and eaten by the assembled relatives. The Uquor shop is 
again resorted to for the purpose of taking back the axe formerly 
left there. This terminates the funeral rites. No periodical cere- 
mony is performed for the propitiation of departed souls, but dead 
relatives are held in great reverence. Burial is resorted to in cases 
of poverty. Tombs are erected over the remains of the rich, and 
those that are esteemed, to perpetuate their memory. Magnificent 
tombs of the Bond Rajas may be seen at Manikgad, neqr Rajura, 
and also in the vicinity of Jangaon. 

Social Status — The social status of the Gonds cannot be 
clearly defined. With the exception of a few families, who have 
been admitted to a high rank in the Hindu social system, by reason of 
their abstaining from beef and employing Brahmans, they stand wholly 
outside the Hindu caste system. No orthodox Hindu will ever 
eat their food, or accept water from their hands. In matters of diet 
they are not very particular. They partake of beef, pork, fowls, 
fish, field rats, snakes, lizards and buffaloes — in fact all animal food. 
They have no repugnance to eating the flesh of animals which have 
died a natural death ; but they will refuse to eat the leavings of 
Hindus, even of Brahmans. Although wholly outside the pale of 
Hinduism, they are not free from caste prejudices and, amongst 
themselves, have formed various social grades, imitating the Hindu 
castes, as regards restrictions on diet and matrimonial alliances. As 
has already been mentioned, the Raj Gonds occupy the highest 
position, and the Pardhans and Thotis, whose touch is regarded 
as unclean and unceremonial, the lowest. 



GoND 229 

Occupation. — The original occupation of the Gonds is believed 
to be hunting and agriculture, which latter is carried on by the method 
known as dh\)a or daha. In this primitive mode of tillage, neither 
plough nor hoe is used, but the men cut trees, burn them, and sow 
seed by small handfuls in narrow holes made in the ashes. As 
the earth gives proofs of exhaustion, generally in two or three 
years, the Gonds move off, bag and baggage, to some fresh patch of 
land and resume their .operations. The crops they raise are jawari, 
rice, chillies, maize and various pulses. Cotton is also occasionally 
grown. The largest share of the field labour devolves upon the 
women, whj> assist the men in sowing, weeding and gathering in the 
harvest. The scanty produce of their fields hardly suffices for their 
maintenance and they consequently have to eke it out by consuming 
mahua flowers, wild roots and fruit and a variety of jungle herbs. 
Every household has a sort of rude oil-press, in which oil is extracted 
from mahua seeds and used for eating and lighting purposes. The 
Gonds have their own carpenters, who make rude wooden imple- 
ments, and their own distillers, who manufacture liquor from mahua 
flowers. 

The Gonds have, hitherto, been lords of the woodlands, roving 
at will and enjoying perfect freedom in selecting land for cultivation 
and making new clearances. But the situation has now changed. 
The forest conservancy laws, which have come into force of late, 
and the extension of metalled roads, which have opened up their 
secluded tracts to foreign settlers, are interfering seriously with their 
dh^a method of cultivation. The Gonds cire thus being com- 
pelled to take to settled cultivation with the plough, and to exchange 
their free life for the restraints of an ordered existence. This new life 
is proving uncongenial to them, for it has created new wants, which 
their scanty resources cannot meet, and the result is that these simple 
jungle people are gradually being drawn more and more within the 
clutches of the wily money-lenders of the plains and are being 
subjected to all the evils of indebtedness. 

A few of the Gonds, especially the wild Kolams, have been 
forced by later immigrants into the heart of the hilly forests, where 
they still maintain their straightforward independence and manllneia. 



230 GOND 

These earn their living by hunting, making strong and durable 
bamboo mats and baskets, and collecting honey, charoli, mahua 
flowers, bees' wax, resins, gums and other jungle products, which 
they barter to a hania, in exchange for food-grains and other neces- 
saries of life. 

Early History Of the early history of the Gonds very little 

is known. They established governments, one of which ruled the 
country which once comprehended a portion of the Adilabad 
District of H. H. the Nizam's Dominion, and the present Chanda 
District of the Central Provinces. It was founded by Bhim Ballal 
(804 A. D.) and had capitals at Jangaon MowjUa, and at 
Manikgada on the Wardha. Khandakya Ballal, the 10th Raja, 
transferred the seat of government to Chandrapur or Chanda, which 
he founded on the Zarpal river in 1261 A. D. The legend is, that 
Khandakya Ballal was suffering grievously from leprosy, of which he 
was completely cured by bathing in the balmy waters of the river ; 
this induced him to select the site, as a lucky place, for his 
capital. The town was walled by Hirabai, the 12th ruler, who also 
built the shrine of Mahakali and laid the foundation of the Chanda 
fort. At a later date the kingdom became subject to the Bhoslas 
of Nagpur. in 1743, the Gonds raised an insuuection, which Raghoji 
Bhosla quelled, annexing the principality to his dominions. 
Another Gond principality established its capital at Atnur, 
about 40 miles west of Jangaon, where the splendid archi- 
tectural remains still bear witness to its former glory and magni- 
ficence. A Gond-Rajput dynasty, under the name of Kakatiyas, is 
said to have reigned at Warangal for more than 400 years. The 
kingdom became very powerful about the end of the 13th century, 
but, being involved in a conflict with the Muhammadans, its power 
continued to decline, till it was at last swept away, in 1424 A. D., 
by the generals of Ahmad Shah Wali, one of the Bahamani kings. 

Connected with the Gonds of Adilabad, though not included 
among them, are the Koitor or Kois, who occupy the Warangal 
District, extending from Bhadrachalam, on the banks of the Godavari, 
down to the neighbourhood of Khamamet. A tradition prevails that 
famine and internal disputes drove them to this region from the high- 



GoND 231 

lands of Bastar, on the eastern banks of the Godavari. Both the 
Gonds and the Kois have a physical resemblance and are, in their 
features, quite distinct from the people of villages ; but each of them 
has a different tongue, the Adilabad Gonds speaking almost the pure 
Gondi, while the Kois have a dialect with a great preponderance 
of Telugu words. The term Koitor or, in its radical form, Koi, has 
been supposed to be derived from \onda, the Telugu equivalent for 
mountain,' but it s'eems to approach more closely the Persian 
kph, meaning 'hill.' 

The Koi men are dignified with the title of Doralu (lords) 
and the wSmen with that of Dora Sanulu (ladies). 

The Kois divide themselves into five classes — Gutta Koi, Addilu, 
Perumbo Yadu, Koi Kammar Vandalu and Dollolu. The Gutta, 
or hill Kois, include the Madu Gutta, Pere Gutta, Vido Gutta, and 
other clans holding the highest rank among the tribe. The Koi 
Kammar Vandalu are Koi blacksmiths. The Dollolu are the reli- 
gious counsellors or bhdts (genealogists) of the upper classes and 
have charge of the Koi deities. Koi customs are not uniform, but vary 
with the localities, although, in their essential character, they are not 
distinct from those of the Gonds. Boys and girls generally marry 
when of fair age. Marriages, both by proposal and by force, are 
in vogue. A widow is sometimes carried off a day or two after 
the death of her husband, while she is still grieving on account 
of her loss. Elopements are common and husbands are, occasionally, 
murdered for the sake of their wives. More disputes arise from wife 
stealing than from any other causes. The Kois pay devotion to 
Mamila, represented by a stump of wood, to whom human sacrifices 
are said to be still offered. It is customary to propitiate the goddess 
early in the year, so that the crops may not fail. The Kolam god 
Bhimsen is also worshipjjed. Korra Razu is the deity which presides 
over the tiger demon. Wild dogs are held in special reverence and 
even if they kill the cattle they are not injured. A festival is held 
when ifypa or mahua flowers (Bassia latijolia) are in blossom. When 
the new crop is ripe, and ready to be cut, the Kois take a fowl into 
the field, kill it, and sprinkle its blood on any ordinary stone put ud 
for the occasion, after which they are at liberty to partake of the new 



232 GoND 

crop. The Kois have a strong belief in the spirit world,- and it is 
said that if they are not satisfied that the spirit of a departed person 
has joined the spirits of his predecessors, they waylay a 
stranger, kill him during the night, sprinkle his blood on the image of 
Mamila and bury the corpse before any one knows of the event. This 
horrid practice has been on the decline since 1842, when arrangements 
were made to prevent it. In accordance with a very singular custom 
prevalent among them, the Koi women drive the men to hunt, on a 
certain day of the year, and do not allow them to return, unless they 
bring home some game. On this occasion, the women are said to be 
dressed in their husbands' clothes. Young persons and children are 
buried ; others are burnt. A cow or bullock is slain,* the tail is 
cut off and placed in the dead person's hands and the body burnt ; 
the friends and relatives then retire and proceed to feast on the 
animal. Three days later, the ashes are rolled up into small balls 
and deposited in a small hole about two feet deep. A child is 
named on the 7th day after birth. Having washed the child and 
placed it on a bed they put a leaf of the mahua tree in its hands and 
pronounce its name. 



XXXIV 

GONDHALI 

Gondhali — a class of Marathi beggars, musicians and dancers, 
to be found in all the Districts of the Marathawada, but especially 
in the District of LJsmanabad. They take their name from their 
professional dance, gondhal, the word being probably derived from 
the tumultuous row (Marathi equivalent — gondhal} which the Gon- 
dhalis raiijp while performing the dance. Their traditions say that 
they were descended from the sage Jamdagni and his wife Renuka. 
According to another account, they are identical with the Maitriyas 
of olden times, who were regarded as the progeny of a Vaidehika 
father and an Ayogava mother. 

Internal Structure — The Gondhalis are divided into two sub- 
castes : Kadamrai and Renurai, who neither intermarry nor eat together. 
These two classes are distinguished from each other by their distinct 
badges (^ mendicancy, the former wearing a garland of cowrie shells, 
and the latter a vweath of cowrie shells alternated, with small silk 
tassels. Both are devotees of Bhavani, the consort of Shiva, the 
Kadamrais begging at the feet (Marathi — k.adarn) of the goddess, 
which privilege is said to be denied to the Renurais. There is a 
third class of Gondhalis, called Akarmasis, probably the illegitimate 
offspring of the above mentioned two sub-castes. 

The Gondhalis have the same exogamous sections as those of 
the Maratha Kunbis, from whom they seem to be separated by reason 
of their having adopted the occupation of begging. Some of their 
exogamous sections are : — 

Gaikawad. Jatal. 

Kapse. Hatkar. 

Mali. More. 

Lonker. Rode. 

Bamane. Shirke. 

Pawar. Todker. 

Sonwane. Khanhal. 



234 GONDHALI 

A man may not marry a woman of his own section. He may 
marry the daughters of his sister, his father's sister and his mother s 
brother. Polygamy is permitted, there being no rule to limit the 
number of wives a man may have. 

Marriage. — Gondhali girls are married either as infants or as 
adults, between the ages of three and sixteen. A father receives for 
his daughter a price which is said to vary from. Rs. 25 to Rs. 200, 
according to the means of the bridegroom. 

The marriage ceremony extends over five days and comprises 
rites which are in vogue in the Maratha castes. On thff first day, 
the bride and bridegroom are smeared with turmeric paste and 
oil, in their own houses separately. After this the bridegroom 
is conducted, in procession, to Hanuman's temple, worships the 
god and returns, bearing the Deoa\, i.e., the leaves of the mango, 
saundad (Prosopis spicigera), palas (Butea jrondosa), umbar (Ficus 
glowerata), and mi {Calotropis gigantea). These are ceremonially 
tied to one of the posts of the wedding booth. Bhavani and other 
tutelary deities are propitiated with sacrifices, and relations and friends 
are feasted in their names. The second is the actual wedding day, 
when the bridal pair are made to stand face to face, either in bamboo 
baskets, or on leafy plates, and are sprinkled over with grains of rice 
by the priest. The remaining three days are spent in feasting and 
merrymaking, and in the performance of such rites as are of minor 
importcince. 

Widows are allowed to marry again and divorce is recognised 
by the caste. 

Religion — The principal deities of the Gondhalis are Bhavani 
of Tuljapur and Renuka Devi of Mahur, in whose honour they cele- 
brate, with pomp, the festival of Navaratra, which falls in the month 
of Aswin (September-October). On the 1 0th of Aswin, a Horn, or 
sacrificial fire, is ignited, oblations of liquor are offered and goats 
are sacrificed to their patron deities. In the month of Asadha (June- 
July), Man Ai, Pochamma, Sitala Devi, and other animistic deities, 
are honoured with sacrifices of goats. Besides these, the members 
of the caste worship the greater gods of the Hindu pantheon and 



GONDHALI 235 

observe all Hindu festivals. Brahmans are engaged on ceremonial 
and religious occasions. 

Disposal of the Dead .—The dead are either buried, or burnt, 
in a sleeping posture with the head pointing to the south ; the 
Sradha is performed on the 10th day after death. Ancestors in 
general are propitiated in the month of Bhadrapad (August- 
September) with oblations of water. Spirits of ancestors, especially 
of female ancestors,' are appeased with sacrifices and offerings of 
flowers and fruits. 

Child-Birth — A woman after child-birth is regarded as impure 
for ten days and it is said that during the period of her lying-in 
she is not allowed to sleep on a cot, because their patron deity, 
Renuka, sleeps on a cot at Mahur. On the fifth day after birth, 
Satwai, the guardian of infants, is worshipped with offerings of 
dentifrice and food. A girl on attaining puberty is held unclean 
for three days. 

Social Status — Socially, the Gondhalis rank below the Maratha 
Kunbis.. They eat the flesh of deer, fowls and fish and drink 
spirituous and fermented liquors. They do not eat the leavings of 
other castes. 

Occupation. — The Gondhalis are professional mendicants. They 
sing and dance to the music of a drum, cymbals and a tuntune (a 
fiddle) and solicit alms from door to door and from village to village, 
in honour of their tutelary deities, Renuka and Bhavemi. But they are 
particularly engaged for the performance of the gondhal, a tumul- 
tuous dance in honour of Devi Bhavani, celebrated at the marriage 
ceremonies of the Maratha Brahmans and other Maratha castes. On 
these occasions, the Gondhalis, a choir of five men, are entertained 
at a feast by day and at night, at ten, they commence the dance, after 
having worshipped the goddess and her lord Shanker, who is repre- 
sented by a metal pot containing water, betel leaves and areca 
nuts, topped with a cocoanut. Both the deities are installed on 
a low wooden stool, covered with a bodice cloth, decked with beauti- 
ful designs in turmeric and ^an^um, and overhung with garlands of 
flowers suspended from a tripod of three sugar canes. The puja con- 
sists of the offerings of flowers, the waving of lamps fed with ghi 



236 GONDHALI 

and the burning of incense and camphor and is held by the principal 
member of the household. Each gondhal is opened with the cries of 
' Udeh, Udeh ' (victory to the goddess) and begins with an invocation 
to Khandoba of Jejuri, Tukai, Yamai, mother Bhavani (Ai Bhavani), 
and other minor and greater gods. One of the band holds in his 
hand a lighted torch (the emblem of the goddess) and the precentor, 
clothed in a long oily gown, and wearing cowrie shell necklaces and 
jingling anklets, smears it with sandal paste and kunkuw and makes 
a low obeisance before it. To his audience, composed of men and 
women of the household and outsiders, he relates stories from the 
Rama^ana and other mythological stories, singing and daiicing, all 
the while, to a drum, cymbals and fiddle, played upon 
by his three companions, who stand behind him. Often 
he enlivens his narrative with humourous episodes and ingenious jokes 
which he plays upon the torch bearer. The performance is occa- 
sionally kept up till the small hours of the morning. The gondhal ends 
with a supplication for blessing to the goddess Bhavani. 

A few of the Gondhal is have now settled down and taken to 
agriculture. 



XXXV 

GOPAI 

Gopal — a class of wandering athletes, acrobats, mat-makers and 
buffalo dealers, chiefly found in the northern parts of the Aurangabad 
District. •Ouring their wanderings, they live in huts of grass mats, 
which they carry with their goods and chattels on the backs of 
buffaoes. 

Origin. — They trace their origin to persons who were, in ancient 
times, dedicated to the god Kanhoba of Tisgaon Madhi, in the 
District of Ahmednagar, and were designated ' Bal-Gopals,' after one 
of the names of Krishna or Kanhoba. They are divided into : 
(1) Vira Gopal, (2) Pahilwan Gopal, and (3) Kam Gopal. The Vira 
Gopals resemble the Maratha Kunbis, live in huts of date palm leaves 
and earn their livelihood by making mats from the leaves of the date 
palm. The Pahilwan Gopals are acrobats, practising gymnastics and 
performing feats on a long pole, to the accompaniment of a torn torn, 
or circular drum. They also make mats of date palm leaves. The 
men wear tight drawers, while the women dress in the Maratha 
Kunbi fashion. There is one more division, known as Gujarati 
Gopals, who have, however, nothing in common with the above men- 
tioned sub-castes. The male members of this sub-caste wear 
tight white drawers, a large red or white turban and a coloured 
cloth over the shoulder. Unlike the other Gopal tribes, they wear 
necklaces of white beads and ear-rings of brass wire with white 
beads strung on the end. They earn their living by performing on 
the tight rope, tumbling and exhibiting other feats of strength on 
the ground, and by mat and basket making. They occupy the lowest 
social position among the Gopal tribes. 

Internal Structure ^The section names of the caste are as 

follows : — 



238 GoPAL 



Kala Pahad (b 
Dhangar 


lack hill). 


Wani 
Gandhe 


Hatkar 




Kangane 


Koli 




Pole 


Nawghare 




Maske 


Pawar 




Gavane 


Shinde 




Yeshwantrao 


More 




Wanjari 


Gire 




Mali ■ 


Gaikawad 




Hambre 


Kapurwade 




Jadhawa 


The sections 


show a 


curious mixture of different types 



"Yeshwantrao' appears to be the name of a man who may have been 
the eponymous founder of the Yeshwantrao section. Some of them, 
such as Hatkar, Koli, Mali, Wani, Dhangar and Wanjari, are doubt- 
less the names of castes from which the Gopal tribe was originally 
recruited. Others, such as Yeshwantrao, are purely eponymous in 
their character, being the names of persons who founded the section 
names, while the name 'Kala Pahad' (black hill) and others sinilar to 
it represent the territorial element among them. But, by far, the 
greater number of them have evidently been borrowed from the 
Maratha Kunbis. 

Marriage. — The Gopals observe the simple rule of exogamy 
that a man may not marry a woman of his own section. He may marry 
the daughters of his father's sister and of his mother's brother. 
Daughters are married either as infants or adults ; but, as by other 
wandering tribes, the latter usage is deemed the more convenient. 
Sexual intercourse before marriage is tolerated, but if a girl becomes 
pregnant, her lover is called upon to marry her. Polygamy is re- 
cognised, and a man may have as many wives as he can afford to 
maintain. The customary bride-price paid for a Gopal girl is Rs. 5. 
The marriage ceremony is of the Maratha type and needs no special 
description. A widow may re-marry and a wife may be divorced for 
adultery or for incurable ill-temper. Divorced wives may marry 
again in the same manner as widows. 

Religion. — In matters of religion, the Gopals differ very little 



GoPAL 239 

from the- Maratha Kunbis. Their special deity is Kanhoba of Tisgaon 
Madhi, who is worshipped once a year with great pomp and cere- 
mony. For ceremonial and religious purposes, Brahmans are em- 
ployed by the members of the caste, who also revere the spirits 
of their dead ancestors. 

Disposal of the Dead — The dead are buried in a sitting posture. 
The body is carefully washed, smeared with gulal (red powder) and 
borne to the grave swathed in a sheet of white cloth. The Sradha 
ceremony is performed on the 1 0th day after death and ancestors in 
general are propitiated twice a year, viz., on the Akshattitiya, which 
falls on the light third of Vaishakha, and on the Pitra AmaiOasya, 
the last day of Bhadrapad. 

Social Status — Socially, the Gopals rank below the Maratha 
Kunbis, but far above the impure classes of Hindu society. They eat 
mutton, pork, fish, fowl and the flesh of hare, deer and the iguana, and 
drink spirituous and fermented liquors. They do not eat the leavings 
of other castes. 

Occupation. — In addition to their occupation as acrobats and 
rope-dcmcers, the Gopals deal in the milk of buffaloes. They have 
an evil reputation as inveterate robbers and their movements are 
vigilantly watched by the police. 



XXXVI 

GoUNDALA 
(Titles : Ayya, Appa, GouJa.) 

Goundala, Gouda, Idiga, Kalal — a toddy-drawing and liquor- 
vending caste, found widely distributed in all the Telugu .districts of 
His Highness's Dominions. 

Origin Regarding their origin, several stories are current. 

According to the Goud Puran, they are said to have come from 
Benares and other parts of Northern India, where they were 
originally engaged in the manufacture and sale of spirituous liquors. 
Another legend represents them as having sprung from Koundinya 
Rishi, who was created by Parvati for the purpose of extracting and 
fermenting the sap of the wild date palm and thus supplying the 
wants of gods and men in the matter of intoxicating drinks. It is 
said that the gods and demons were so delighted with the pleasant 
beverage, that they conferred upon him the title of ' Gouda,' or " the 
head of mankind.' A third legend describes how Mannad Shetli, 
the ancestor of this caste, was created by Shiva to supply him with 
a drink of water when thirsty, and how, instead of water, the Shetti 
brought the god the fermented juice of the shendi (wild date palm) 
tree. Shiva discovered this and, in his anger, condemned the offender 
to the servile occupation of a liquor vendor. Several legends, more 
or less grotesque in description, are given which, however, throw no 
light upon the real origin of the caste. It seems probable that the 
caste is a functional group, formed from the members of other castes 
under the pressure of the demand for intoxicating drinks. This view 
bears support from the internal structure of the caste, which shows 
that it comprises several independent groups. 

Internal Structure — The caste is divided into six endogamous 
groups: (1) Deva Goundala, (2) Shetti Goundala, (3) Mashti 



GOUNDALA 241 

Goundala, (4) Goundala, (5) Idiga and (6) Laguwad. 

(1) Deva Goundala. — Very little is known regarding the origin 

of the name 'Deva Goundala". It is traditionally ascribed 
to the fact that members of this sub-caste supplied liquor , 
to the Devas (gods). At the present day they hold the 
highest rank among the Goundala castes. 

(2) The Shetti, "or Chetti Goundalas are very numerous and 

assert that the distinctive title Shetti was conferred upon 
their ancestor by Raja Prataprudra of Warangal, for 
'successfully meeting and overcoming an invincible gym- 
nast in a wrestling match. 

(3) The Mashti Goundalas occupy the lowest position among 

the Goundala sub-castes. They have five sub-divisions : 
(1) Telia Idiga, (2) Kulla Jain, (3) Kada, (4) Ayanoti- 
waru and (5)' Jetti. The members of these sub-castes do 
not eat together, nor intermarry. The Ayanotiwaru and 
• Jetti groups earn their living by begging alms from the 
other sub-castes of liquor vendors. 

(5) The Idigas rank lower, socially, than the Goundalas, but have 

been grouped with the latter by reason of their common 
occupation. The word 'Idiga' comes from 'Ita' which 
means a shendi tree, and those who make incisions in the 
tree for its sap are called 'Ita Godlu', the two words 
ultimately passing into the term 'Idiga'. The sub-caste 
is said to have been recruited from among members of 
other castes, especially from the Mutrasi, Munnur and 
Telaga castes. The Idigas have a sub-division called 
' Thala Idiga,' the word ' Thala ' signifying ' the head.' 

(6) The Laguwad or Lagullawahdlu are so called because they 

wear lagus, i.e., short trousers. This sub-caste is also re- 
cruited from other castes and is found chiefly in the 
Southern Districts of H. H. the Nizam's Dominions. 

The members of the caste claim to have five gotras (exogamous 
groups). (I) Shivansha gotra, (2) Shivanama gotra, (3) Nishila 
i6 



242 GOUNDALA 

golra, (4) Surabhandeshwar and (5) Koundinya. These are purely 
ornamental and have no bearing upon the regulation of marriages, 
which are governed by exogamous sections based upon family names, 
the majority of which are of the territorial character. A few only are 
toteraistic, being the names of trees and animals. The totems, how- 
ever, are not taboo to the members of the sections bearing their 
names. 

The rule of exogamy is strictly observed and a man cannot marry 
within his section, or outside his sub-caste. Marriage with the 
daughter of a maternal uncle, or a paternal aunt, is allowed. A man 
may marry two sisters and two brothers may also mari./ two sisters. 
Exchange of daughters is permitted by the caste. The usage of 
illaiam, under which a man is allowed to bring up his son-in-law as 
heir to his estate, obtains in the caste. The son-in-law succeeds to 
the whole of his father-in-law's property if the latter has no male 
issue, otherwise he shares equally with the sons of his brothers-in- 
law. A son-in-law can also perform the funeral obsequies on 
behalf of a father-in-law who has no male issu;. 

Women of higher castes are admitted by the Goundalas into 
their community, no special ceremony being prescribed. 

Marriage Infant marriage is practised by the caste. If a 

"girl's marriage is delayed by reason of poverty, or any other cause, 
and she attains the age of puberty, she is dedicated to a temple 
and remains unmarried. Polygamy is permitted, theoretically, 
to any extent. The marriage ceremony conesponds in all 
essential particulars to that prevalent among the other Telaga 
castes of the same social standing. The negotiations leading to 
marriage are opened by the father of the boy, who pays a visit of 
inspection to the girl's house. If his proposals for marriage are 
accepted, a local Brahman is engaged to compare the horoscopes of 
both parties and, if they are found to agree, an auspicious day is fixed 
for the performance of the wedding ceremony. No price is generally 
claimed for the bride, but sometimes t)o/r, amounting to Rs.' 50, is 
said to be paid to her parents. Mcirriage pandals, consisting of 6 
or 8 pillars, are erected by both parties in front of their houses. 



GOUNDALA 243 

The actual ceremony comprises the following rites : — 

(1) Mailapolu. — A square piece of ground is daubed clean 
wilh^owdrung, and at each of its corners is placed a vessel filled 
with water. These vessels are encircled seven times by a cotton 
thread. Within the square are seated the bride and bridegroom on 
two low stools. They are smeared with turmeric and oil by a 
female of the barber caste and subsequpntly bathed with warm water. 

(2) Mafyal Polu. — Rice ana jaWari (millet) grains being 
spread on the ground and the bridal pair being seated over them on 
two wooden stools, the feet of the bridegroom are washed by the 

father of the Bride, her mother pouring water on them the while. 

o 

(3) Madhupark- — A mixture of jaggery and curds is placed 
in a concave piece of cocoanut kernel and is offered to the bride- 
groom by his father-in-law. 

(4) Kanyaian. — The formal gift of the bride by her father 
to the bridegroom and the latter's formal acceptance of her. 

(5) Lagnam. — The bride and bridegroom being seated face lo 
face, a screen is held between them by the officiating priest. Auspi- 
cious verses are repeated and grains of jaWari or rice are thrown 
over their heads, both by Brahmans and by the assembled guests. 

(6) Jira Gudam. — The couple place handfuls of cumin-seeds 
mixed with molasses on each other's heads. 

(7) Pada-ghattanam. — The bridegroom first touches the left 
foot of the bride with his right foot and, subsequently, the bride 
places her left foot upon the right foot of her husband. 

(8) Tila Bala Biam. — The couple are made to exchange rice. 

(9) Kankanams. — Thread bracelets, with a turmeric root at- 
tached to each, are tied on the wrists of the bridal pair. 

(10) Mangalsutram. — A necklace of black beads is tied 
around the neck of the bride by the bridegroom, under the guid- 
ance of the priest. 

(11) Brahmamudi. — The ends of the garments of the wedded 
pair are fastened in a knot by the officiating priest. 

(12) Mangalarti. — Auspicious lights are waved round the 
happy couple by females whose husbands are alive. 

(13) Arundhati Darshanam.—The star Amndhati is pointed 



244 GOUNDALA 

out to the married couple by the Brahman priest. 

The important ceremonies of Nagbali and Panpu, which are 
performed on the fourth day after the wedding, do not differ 
materially from those of the Kapu caste and have been fully des- 
cribed in the article on that caste. 

Widow=Marriage — A widow is allowed to marry again, but 
she is not expected to marry her first husband's younger or elder 
brother. The ceremony in vogue at the marriage of a widow is 
known as Oodki, in which a rupee is given to the widow-bride for 
the purchase of bangles and toe-rings. On an auspicious day, in the 
evening, people on behalf of the widower go to the TVidow's house, 
present her with a white sari and jewels and bring her at nightfall to 
the bridegroom's house. The bridegroom, after giving her a sari 
and choir, ties the pusti round her neck. The proceedings conclude 
with a feast to the friends and relatives of the newly married couple. 
Divorce — Divorce is permitted on the ground of the wife's 
adultery, or barrenness, or if the couple cannot live in harmony. It 
i*; effected simply by driving the woman out of the house before the 
caste Panchayat. Divorced women are allowed to marry again by 
the same rites as widows. A woman taken in adultery with a member 
of her own caste, or with one of a higher caste, is punished only with 
a fine of Rs. 10. If she goes wrong with a man of a lower caste, 
she is expelled from the caste. 

Inheritance — The Goundalas follow the Hindu law of in- 
heritance. Females inherit in default of any male issue in the family. 
Under the usage of illatam, a sister's son succeeds to the property 
of his maternal uncle. Among the Goundalas, as among the other 
lower castes of Telingana, the custom of chudaWand obtains in full 
force. Something extra is said to be given to the eldest son. 

Religion — In matters of religion the Goundalas differ very 
little from the other Telaga castes. They are divided into 
Tirmanidharis and Vibhutidharis, or the worshippers of Vishnu and 
Shiva, under the guidance of their respective sectarian gums, Shri 
Vaishnava and Aradhi Brahmans. Preference is, however, given to 
the worship of Shiva, whom they adore under the peculiar name of 
Surabhandashewar, or- "the god Shiva sprung from a toddy pot." As 



GOUNDALA 245 

♦ 

the story goes, Shiva once fell in love with Sara Devi, the wife of 
Maila Goud, a man of the Goundala caste. On one occasion, while 
the lovers were together, the husband suddenly made his appearance, 
and Shiva, in confusion, concealed himself in a pot of shendi. The 
suspicious husband boiled the contents, but, on opening the pot, dis- 
covered that it contained only Shioa Lmgam, or the phallic symbol 
of the god Shiva. This was regarded as a miracle and led to the uni- 
versal worship of the deity among the caste. Katamayya, or Kattam 
Raja, the supposed guardian of palm groves, is held in special re- 
verence by the members of the caste. According to the legend in 
vogue among »he Goundalas, Katamayya was created by Mahadeo, 
from his necklace of rudraksha (ElcBocarpus Ganitms), to kill the 
demon Gajasura, who infested the shendi groves belonging to the Rishi 
Koundinya. Katamayya is represented by a piece of stone, set up at 
the bottom of an untapped shendi tree, and is worshipped with 
great pomp and ceremony in the month of Shravan (August- 
September), especially when the sun enters Magha. Offerings 
of sweetmeat, flowers and milk are made to the deity and 
a black ram*, screened from the god by a curtain, is sacrificed before 
it. Maisamma is appeased in each shendi grove by the sacrifice of 
a bull-buffalo. After the animal has been slaughtered, its blood is 
collected in a bowl and sprinkled on each shendi tree. Idamma, 
Pochamma, Durgamma, Mari Amma, Mutyalamma, and other local 
minor deities, are duly propitiated on Fridays and Sundays, with offer- 
ings of fowls, sheep and other animals. A man of the Madiga caste 
is employed in the worship of these animistic deities and claims the 
offerings made to them as his perquisites. The Goundalas have a 
firm belief in witchcraft and in the existence of the spirit world. 
Every disease that cannot be cured by medicine is attributed to the 
baneful influence of some malignant spirit, or spiteful witch, and an 
Erakala woman is employed to pacify the spirit, or to avert the spell of 
the witch. Brahmans serve the caste in religious and ceremonial 
observances, while Jangams (Lingayit priests) officiate at funeral 

ceremonies. 

The Bandi Sidi (literally cart and ladder), or swing festival, is 
held annually by the members of the caste in honour of Mallanna. 



246 GOUNDALA 

On the top of a long pole is fixed a cross beam, with' iron hooks 
attached by ropes to both its ends. The hooks are thrust into the 
flesh of the votary's back and the pole, bearing its burden, is raised 
aloft in the air by several men sitting on an open temple car. when 
the pole has attained a perpendicular position, the car is moved three 
times round the temple. Sometimes two or more devotees are sus- 
pended simultaneously from the beam and, with swords and shields in 
their hands, make a pretence of fighting with one another. This 
horrid practice has, of late, entirely ceased in the Khalsa Districts, 
but it is said to be still prevalent in the Paigah illaquas. 

Disposal of the Dead — The Goundalas usually burn their 
dead, but occasionally bury them if they cannot affofd to pay the 
cremation expenses. In the former case, the ashes and bones are 
collected on the third day after death and either thrown into the 
nearest river or tank, or buried under a taroad tree {Cassia auriculata). 
If burial is resorted to, the married are placed in a sitting posture, 
with the face pointing towards the east, while the unmarried are 
interred in a lying position, with the face downwards and the head 
turned to the south. Mourning is observed for ten days for the 
married and for three days for the unmarried and children. No 
Sradha ceremony is performed. On the Pitra AmaWas^a day (mid- 
dle of September), rice and money are offered to Brahmans for the 
benefit of the departed ancestors. A metal pot, painted externally 
with turmeric and red lead, represents the deceased's first wife and, 
under the name of Jagdi Muntha, is worshipped by the 2nd wife, 
if living. 

Occupation — The Goundalas still follow their ttaditional 
occupation of extracting the juice of the wild date palm {Phoenix 
silcestris) and fermenting it into a spirit popularly known as shendi. 
Shops for the sale of this liquor are almost exclusively owned by 
members of this caste. The wild date palms are tapped generally 
after mid-day and the sap is collected early next morning. The 
quantity of juice extracted from a single tree varies from one to two 
pounds. 

The Idigas, on the other hand, tap both the wild date and the 
palmyra palms. The juice of the latter is largely used in the manu- 



GOUNDALA 247 

facture of sugar and intoxicating liquor. The Idigas use a sort of 
leather sling in climbing palm trees. Owing to the extensive sale of 
fermented liquors, the Goundalas are as a well-to-do class of men. 
Some of them amass large fortunes and are regarded as prominent 
members of the village community. The poorer members of the caste 
are engaged as palm-tappers. Only a few of the Goundalas have 
taken to cultivation. 



XXXVII 

Hatkar 
(Titles.— Naik, Rao.) _ 

Hatkar, Bargi Dhangar — a cultivating and hunting caste, found 
in large numbers in the Districts of Parbhani and Nander ; they are also 
found in the Adilabad and Bidar Districts where, howeift^r, they are 
comparatively rare. Of a strongly built, vigorous frame and generally 
of a dark complexion, with a bold and haughty demeanour, the 
Hatkars show a marked difference from the Maratha Kunbis. Like 
the Welammas, they appear to be a foreign race, who immigrated 
and settled in the country in very early times. The armies of Shivaji 
were composed of recruits mainly drawn from this caste and it is 
said of them, "The most trusted of Shivaji's foot-men and, many of 
the bravest Maratha Generals, among whom the Holkars were the 
most distinguished, belonged to this tribe." The "Ain-i-Akbari" 
describes the Hatkars as being a proud, refractory and domineering 
race of Rajputs, living in the Basim Sircar and, with numerous armed 
forces, occupying the forts and controlling the surrounding districts. 

Origin — The word 'Hatkar' is popularly derived from the 
Marathi ' hat obstinacy, and ' kar ' doer, meaning obstinate. This 
derivation appears to be fictitious and throws no light upon the origin 
of the caste. The Hatkars have no traditions of origin, and their 
original affinities and the time of their immigration are lost in obscurity. 

Regarding these people Captain FitzGerald, once an Assistant 
Commissioner in Berar, made the following observations : — 

" They (the Hatkars) declare that they emigrated from the north 
to this part of India many years ago, supposed to be some time prior 
to the Nizam becoming Subedar of the Deccan on behalf of the kings 
of Delhi. But the "Ain-i-Akbari" seems to suppose that the Hatkars 
were driven westward across the Wardha by the Gonds. The 
Hatkars are all Bargi Dhangars, or the shepherds with the spears. 



Hatkar 249 

The general idea is that, originally, there were twelve tribes of Bargi 
Dhangars, who came down from Hindustan, and that from them the 
country about Hingoli (the Parbhani District) was called Bar Hatti, 
which, the Hatkars say, is a corruption of the words 'Bara Hatkar', 
or the country of twelve Hatkars. At present there are only three 
families. To one or other of these families all the Hatkars about 
Berar, Hingoli, etc., belong. The names of these families or clans 
are: (I) Poli, (2) Gurdi, (3) Muski." 

" The Hatkars say that they formerly, when going on any ex- 
pedition, took only a blanket seven hands long and a bear-spear, 
and that oi.^his account they were called 'Bargir,' or Barga Dhangars. 
They would appear to have been all footmen. To this day the temper 
of the Hatkar is said to be obstinate and quarrelsome. They will eat 
with a Kunbi. 

Customs. — " The Hatkars bury their male dead, if death has 
not been caused by a wound in the chase or in battle. The corpse is 
interred sitting cross legged, with a small piece of gold placed in its 
mouth. .If a male Hatkar dies of a wound received in battle, or in 
the chase, they burn the corpse, the feet being placed toward the east, 
so that obsequies by fire are clearly an honourable distinction. All 
women who die in child-birth are burnt, others are buried. 

"Widows may, on the death of their first husband, marry again 
by a pat marriage. 

History. — " The Naiks of Hingoli and Berar were principally 
Hatkars. The duty of a Naik was to keep the peace and prevent 
robbery, but in time they became the breakers of law and the 
dakaits of the country. Some of them, about the year 1818, were 
very powerful. Nowsajee Naik Muski's army gave battle to the 
Nizam's Regular Troops, under Major Pitman, before Umerkhed. 
The Naik was beaten and he was besieged in his stronghold of Nowa, 
with a garrison of five hundred Arabs. The place was carried by 
assault after a very stout resistance in 1819. Nowsajee Naik was 
sent to Hyderabad, where he died. 

" The power of the Naiks was broken by Brigadier Sutherland. 
He hanged so many, that the Naiks pronounce his name to this day 
with awe. To some of the Naiks he gave money, and told them 



250 Hatkar 

to settle down in certain villages. Others, who also came expecting 
money, were at once hanged. 

" Brigadier Sutherland would appear to have hanged only the 
leaders that did not come in before a certain date. In this way 
died Lachaman Naik, Gardi of Hatah, who was next to, if not 
equal in power to, Nowsajee Naik ; also the Naik of Jamb whose 
clan name is Poli." 

Physical Characteristics — " Most of the Hatkars do not permit 
the removal of the hair on the face. They are fine, able-bodied men, 
and have a most wonderful resemblance to each other, which may be 
accounted for by the constant exclusive intermarriage of I'iheir three 
great families. They are independent in bearing, pretentious in 
character, and are the stuff of which good soldiers are made. They 
inhabit, generally speaking, the hills on the northern banks of the 
Painganga. Their villages are placed like a line of outposts along 
our frontier with the Hyderabad territory." 

This account of the caste is substantially correct to the present 
day. The Hatkars, although called Bargi Dhangars, have nothing in 
common with the shepherd or pastoral tribes who keep sheep and 
weave blankets. 

The relations of the Hatkars with the Holer caste (the Dhers of 
the Carnatic) appear to bear a close analogy to the connections which 
the Welammas have with the Mala caste (the Dhers of Telingana). The 
Hatkars have the same section names as thfe Holers and should a 
Hatkar and a Holer, both belonging to the same family section, 
happen to live in the same village, it is incumbent upon the Hatkar 
to attend the marriage ceremony of the Holer and to tie the JeVa-deVal{ 
(a bunch of twigs representing the wedding deity) to the wedding 
post. &)nceming the Welammas, it is known that some of their 
families, especially those of the Rachelu section, have to pay the 
expenses of a Mala marriage before they celebrate their own 
weddings. The Welammas, like the Hatkars, have a fine physique, 
are endowed with vigour and energy, possess an arrogant and over-bear- 
ing demeanour and were once highly esteemed for their soldierly 
qualities. The points of resemblance between these two races are 
very striking, in the absence of any precise evidence, however, it 



Hatkar 25 1 

would 6e treading on risky ground to ascribe a common origin to these 
two tribes who, at the present day, differ widely from each other 
in their customs, usages, and language. 

Internal Structure.— The Hatkars have no endogamous divi- 
sions ; but their exogamous sections are numerous, some of which are 
shown below : — 

(1) Satapute, (2) Marke, (3) Devakate, (4) Katagunde, (5) 
Shirane, (6) Hakke,. (7) Mundane, (8) Mundhe, (9) Devare, (10) 
Navate, (11) Shilgar, (12) Shimpe, (13> G^ode, (14) Shinde, (15) 
Dhone, (16) Waghamode, (17) Suranare, (18) Salgar, (19) Doti- 
gandia, (20) Tarange and many others. 

The section names (^u/w) are formed after the model common 
among the Maratha castes. They are not totemistic, but a few of 
them are eponymous, the others being either of the territorial or the 
titular type. The section name descends in the male line. A man 
is forbidden to marry a woman of his own section. No prohibited 
degrees restrict him in the selection of a girl, provided he does not 
marry his niece, his aunt, or any of his first cousins, excepting the 
daughters of his maternal uncle and paternal aunt. The Hatkars 
permit the marriage of two sisters to the same man and also the 
marriage of two sisters to two brothers. 

Polygamy is allowed without any limit being imposed on the 
number of wives a man may have. 

Marriage — Both infant and adult marriages are practised 
by the caste. In fulfilment of vows, boys as well as girls are 
wedded to Khandoba, their patron deity, and are not allowed to marry 
afterwards. The girls are subsequently called murlis and become 
prostitutes, while the boys, under the name of Waghes, lead a 
depraved and immoral life. Adultery is regarded with abhorrence, 
and a girl committing an indiscretion is expelled from the caste. 

The marriage ceremony of the Hatkars differs little from that 
in vogue among the Maratha Kunbis. On the conclusion of the 
preliminary negotiations between the parties, and on the nativities of 
the young couple being found to agree, an auspicious day is fixed for 
the performance of the wedding. The first ceremony, in connection 
with marriage, is Pamoate, or the distribution of pan (betel-leaves). 



252 Hatkar 

The father of the boy goes to the bride's house with some ornaments 
and clothes. In the presence of the caste people, invited for the 
occasion, these are presented to the girl by a Brahman, who 
presides over the ceremony ; pan-supari and sugar are then distributed. 
daJ^shana (the prescribed fee) is paid to the Brahman, and the 
assembly disperses. 

Marriage booths sup[>orted on posts of umbar {Ficus glomerata), 
jambul (Eugenia Jambolana) and salai (BosWellia thurijera), are 
erected by both parties in front of their houses. To the salai post 
are bound the emblems of Deva-Devakalu, which consist of a 
wheaten cake and the twigs of five sacred plants, viT., maula 
(Bauhinia racemosa). mango (Mangrfera indica), hioar (Acacia 
leucophyl&a). saundad (Prosopis spicigera) and umbar (Ficus glo- 
merata), which are brought in procession by five married women from 
the Maruti temple of the village. Beneath the pandal is built an 
earthen platform, 8 ft. square and generally nine inches in height. 
This over, the important ceremony of Haldi is performed, at which 
the bridal pair, in their respective houses, are smeared with t'jrmeric 
paste and oil, and are bathed underneath the booth by five married 
women. The worship of the family and village deities, the per- 
formance of the gondhal dance (a kplachar) and the procession 
In honour of birs (ancestral spirits) follow in order and precede 
the actual wedding. 

On the wedding day, the bridegroom's party, composed of 
friends and relatives, escort him to the bride's house. The bridal 
procession stops, first, at the Hanuman temple, where the bride- 
groom is given a formal welcome by the bride's father, and then at 
the entrance to the bride's house, where the bridegroom alights from 
the horse and is conducted direct to the wedding canopy. The 
bride is brought out and both are made to stand facing 
each other, the bride under the arboui and the bridegroom outside it. 
A curtain is held between them and the officiating priest, usually a 
Maratha Brahman, recites benedictory verses and blesses the couple, 
at the same time throwing turmeric-coloured rice on their heads. The 
assembled guests shower rice over them and the curtain is raised 
amidst the cheers of the men and the singing of the women. The 



Hatkar 253 

bridal pair, who are after this seated side by side facing the east, are 
girt round seven times by raw cotton thread, care being taken that the 
thread does not touch their bodies. While this process is going on, 
the bride's father ceremonially makes over his virgin daughter to 
the bridegroom — this ceremony is known as Kan})dddn (the gift of a 
virgin bride). The girl's thread is then removed and tied to a wedding 
post. In the Kan\ana Bandhanam ceremony, a Warati, or a man of 
the washerman caste, fastens bracelets of woollen thread on the wrists 
of the bride and bridegroom. The bridegroom, thereupon, taking the 
bride in his arras, or by the hand, ascends the platform, where the pair, 
seated or% wooden stools, perform horn (sacrifice) and are presented 
with clothes, money, &c. The second day passes in feasting and 
sporting on the banks of a stream, where the newly married couple are 
taken in procession. The marriage generally ends on the third day 
with Sade, when wedding presents are given to the bride and the 
bridegroom by their respective fathers-in-law, after which the happy 
pair are conducted in procession to the bridegroom's house. The 
marriage expenses amount to from Rs. 100 to Rs. 500. 

Widow=Marriage — A widow is allowed to marry again, but 
not the brother of her late husband. Except in the month of Pausha 
(December-January) the ceremony is performed on any date between 
sunset and sunrise. On a dark night, the widow bathes, puts on new 
bangles and toe-rings, and wears a new sari presented to her by her 
suitor. Seated side by side, the pair are married by a Brahman, who 
bedaubs their foreheads with \unkum, ties their garments in a knot 
and puts a mangalsutra (auspicious string of black beads) round 
the widow's neck. The essential portion of the ceremony is the 
knocking together of the widow's and her husband's heads. The 
rest of the night they pass together in the bride's house. Early next 
morning they bathe and stealthily repair to Maruti's temple, where 
they spend the whole day, returning by night to the bridegroom s 
house. The widow's children by her first husband are claimed by 
his relatives. Divorce is permitted, the divorced woman bemg 
allowed to re-marry by the same rites as a widow. 

Religion The religion of the Hatkars presents no features of 

special interest. Their favourite object of worship is Khandoba, to 



254 Hatkar 

whom offerings of flowers and sweetmeats are made every Sunday. 
In addition to this deity, they pay homage to Bhairoba and the 
spirits of their departed ancestors, whose images they keep in their 
houses. They observe all the Hindu festivals, among which the Holi, 
or Shimaga, in March and the Dassera in October, are held in great 
importance. Deshastha Brahmans are employed as priests and serve 
the caste in their religious and ceremonial observances. 

Child=Birth — The impurity of child-birth lasts for twelve days. 
On the 12th day after birth, the child is named and a feast is pro- 
vided for the caste people in honour of the occasion. A girl, on 
attaining puberty, remains in pollution for nine days. 

Funerals — The dead are burned by the side of a stream, in a 
lying posture, with the head to the south. Some of the families of 
the Hatkars bury their dead, the corpse being laid in the grave with 
the legs crossed and the face turned towards the east. The prac- 
tice of cremation, as Mr. A. C. Lyall observes, appears to be of 
recent introduction and is gradually becoming universal among the 
caste. When a person is dying, a mixture of curds and Water is 
placed in the mouth, and after death the body is washed and, being 
wrapped up in clothes, is carried to the burning ground on the 
shoulders of his relatives. The chief mourner leads the funeral 
procession and fires the pile after the corpse has been laid upon it. 
After the pyre has burnt down he circumambulates it five times, 
bathes in a stream and returns home, followed by all the relatives. On 
the 3rd day after death, the ashes are collected and thrown into a 
stream and food is offered at the burning ground for the benefit of the 
deceased. On the same day, the pall bearers have their shoulders 
besmeared with ghi and a feast is provided for them. Sradha 
is performed on the anniversary day and in the months of Vaishakha 
(April-May) and Bhadrapad (August-September). Persons dying 
violent deaths are worshipped in the form of images which are set 
up in the houses. 

Social Status and Occupation — In point of social standing, 
the Hatkars rank with the Maratha Kunbis, with whom they exchange 
kachi (uncooked) food. They eat mutton, fowl, lizards, hare, deer 
and fish of all varieties, but abstain from beef, pork, she-goats and 



Hatkar 255 

the leavings of other people. In occupation, the Hatkars are culti- 
vators and hold land-tenures of different grades. They are patels of 
villages, deshmukhs, occupancy and non-occupancy raiats and landless 
day-labourers. The Hatkar males and females dress and decorate 
themselves like the Maratha Kunbis. The men do not wear the 
sacred thread. Their home language is Marathi. 



xxxvm 

Jain 

Jain — a religious sect supposed to have been originally evolved 
from Buddhism and owing its elevation to the suppression of 
the latter faith. In later times it leaned towards Brah- 
manism, to which it conformed in its recognition of tjfe orthodox 
pantheon and its deference to the Vedas, to the rites derivable from 
them, to the institutions of caste and to the Brahmans as ministrant 
priests. This was rather a political move and probably saved the 
Jains from the persecution of the Brahmans, who successfully opposed 
and ultimately expelled the once potent faith of Buddhism from the 
country. 

Origin and History — The origin of the Jain faith is involved 
in the obscurity which enshrouds all history of remote antiquity. It 
is said to have been founded by Rishabha Deva, the first of their 
Tirthankars, who is identified by some with the king Rishabha, 
mentioned in the BhdgWat Purdna ; but no direct evidence is 
adduced m corroboration of the statement. The influence of the 
faith as a popular religion may be traced to the sixth or seven 
centuries A. D. and continued till the twelfth, when it reached the 
zenith of its prosperity and included, among its votaries, some power- 
ful sovereigns of India, such as Kumarpal of Gujarath, Amogha 
Vaisha of Tandai Mandalam in Malabar, Kuna Pandya of Madura, 
Vishnu Vardhan of Mysore and King Vijala of Kalayani in Gulbarga. 
The noblest architectural monuments of the Jains, diffused throughout 
India, and the splendid temples sacred to their Tirthankars, belong 
to this period and bear overwhelming testimony to their influence 
during this time. The power of the Jains has since been on the 
decline and the sect scarcely numbers at the present day more than 
a million people. 

The Jains are found in considerable numbers in Hyderabad 



Jain 



257 



Territory. They probably came into these Dominions from 

Gujarath, Marwar and Southern India, where they were greatly 

patronised by the ruling dynasties ; but the date of their immigration 

cannot be ascertained. 

Tenets. — The Jains deny the divine origin and infallibility 
of the Vedas, reverence certain saints called Tirthankars who acquire, 
by practices of self-deniil and mortification, a station superior to that 
of gods and show extreme regard for animal life. The Vedas 
are admitted and quoted as an authority, but only so far as the doc- 
trines they ti^ch are conformable to Jain tenets. They admit the 
existence of twenty-four Tirthankars, or Jins, but confine their 
reverence to the last two, Parasnath and Mahavira or Vardhaman. 
The Jin is regarded as a veritable deity and is endowed with divine 
attributes. He is Jagat Prabhu (Lord of the World), Kshina Karma 
(free from bodily or ceremonial acts), Sarvadnya (omniscient), Adhish- 
wara (Supreme Lord), Devadhi Deva (God of Gods), Tirthankar (one 
who has frossed the worldly ocean), Kavali (the possessor of a 
spiritual nature), Arhat (entitled to the homage of gods and men), 
and Jina (the victor over all human passions and infirmities. The 
statues of the Jinas, usually of white or black marble, are enshrined 
in the temples of the sect. 



Name. 



Emblem. 



Born. 



Died. 



1. Vrishabha. 


Bull. 


Ayodhya. 


Gujarath. 


2. Ajitnith. 


Elephant. 


,, 


Mt. 


Shikhar 


3. Sambhunitb. 


Horse. 


Sawanta. 




,, 


4. Abbay4nand- 
nAtb. 


Monkey. 


Ayodhya. 




,, 


5. Sumatinatb. 


Chakwa. 


,, 






6. Supadmanatb. 


Lotus. 


Kausambali 






7. Sup&rsbwa- 










n«tb. 


Swastika 


Benares. 




.. 


8. Cbandra- 
prabhd. 


Crescent Moon. 


Cbandrapur. 




,, 


9. Pushpadanta. 


Crocodile. 


Kakendrapur. 




,. 


10. Sitalanatb. 


Tree, or Flower. 


Bhadalpur. 




.. 


11. Sbri Ansniith. 


Rhinoceros. 


Sind. 




>. 


12. Vasupadya. 


Buffalo. 


Champapuri. 


Champapuri. 


13. VimalanStb. 


Boar. 


Kumpatpuri. 


Mt. 


Shikhar 


17 











Name. 


Emblem. 


Born. 


Died. 


14. Anantnath. 


Porcupine. 


Ayodhya. 


Mt. Shikhar 


15. Dharmanath. 


Thunderbolt. 


Ratnapuri. 


„ 


16. Santanath. 


Antelope. 


Hastinapur. 


,, 


17. Kuntanath. 


Goat. 


" 


,, 


18. Aranath. 

19. Mallinath. 


Fish. 
Pinnacle 


Mithila. 


•• 


20. Munisuvrata. 


Tortoise. 


Rajagriha. 


,, 


21. Nanunath. 


Lotus with stalk. 


Mithila. 


,, 


22. Neminath. 


Shell. 


Dwarka. 


Mt. Girnara* 


23. Parswanath. 


Snake. 


Benares. 


Mt. Shikhar. 


24. Vardhamana 






/■ 


or Mahavira. 


Lion. 


Chitrakot. 


Pawapvuri. 



According to the Jains, all existence is divisible into two heads — 
jioa (life), or the living and sentient principle, and ajioa (inertia), 
or the various modifications of inanimistic matter. These are imperish- 
able, though their forms and conditions may change. With them 
dharma is virtue and adharma is vice. 

The Jains are divided into two leading branches • ' Digambaras ' 
or ' sky clad ' (naked), and ' Shwaitambaras ' or ' white robed.' At 
the present day the Digambaras do not go about naked, except at meal 
times, but wear coloured garments. The Shwaitambaras deck their 
images with jewels and clothes, while the Digambaras leave their 
images without clothes and ornaments. The Digambaras assert that 
women never attain Nirvana, but the Shwaitambaras admit the gentler 
sex to final annihilation. Two other sects have lately sprung up : the 
Dhundiyas, who affect rigorous adherence to the moral code, but 
disregard all forms of praise or prayer and ail modes of external 
worship, and the Tirapanthis, who deny the supremacy of a guru and 
present no perfumes, flowers or fruits to the images of the 
Tirthankars. 

There are clerical as well as lay Jains, the Yati or Jati, ana 
the Shravaka, the former of whom lead a religious life and subsist on 
alms which the latter supply. The Yatis acknowledge obedience 
to the head of the matha (pasala) of which they are the members. 
They do not officiate as priests in the temples, the ceremonies being 
conducted by a Brahman trained for the purpose. They carry a broom, 



Jain 259 

to sweep the ground before they tread upon it, and do not eat or 
drink in the dark, lest they should swallow an insect. Most of the 
Jatis act as physicians, and pretend to skill in palmistry and the 
black art. The secular Jains follow the usual professions of the 
Hindus. Some of them are engaged as merchants and bankers and 
form a very opulent portion of the community ; it is said that more than 
half of the mercantile wealth of India passes through the hands of the 
Jain laity. Although their objects of worship are the Tirthankars, 
they do not deny the existence of the Hindu gods, but pay their 
devotion to some of them. They visit a temple daily, where the 
image of amy of the last two ]ins is erected, walk round the image 
three times, make an offering of fruits and flowers and sing praises 
in honour of the saint. 

The Jains have five great places of pilgrimage, to which large 
bands of pilgrims resort every year. These places are : Parasnath, 
near Calcutta, Mount Abu, the sanitarium of Rajputana, Chan- 
dragiri, in the Himalayas, Girnar, in Gujerath, and Satranjya in 
KathiawSr, the last being the most popular among them. The prin- 
cipal festivals of the Jains occur in the month of Bhadrapad, during 
which most of them fast and devote their time to reading reli- 
gious books in temples. The days of the birth and the death of the 
last two Ththankftrs are celebrated with great pomp. 

Internal Structure Although the sect had for its aim the 

abolition of the caste system, the Brahmanical influence has prevailed 
and the Jains are now broken up into numerous sub-castes, some of 
which are territorial and others occupational divisions. The follow- 
ing sub-divisions are met with in these Dominions : — 

(1) Oswal. (10) Gujar. 

(2) Agarwal. (11) Kambhoja. 

(3) Porwal. (12) Bogar. 

(4) Jaiswal. (13) Panchama. 

(5) Srimali. (14) Chaturtha. 

(6) Khandelwad. (15) Harad. 

(7) Swahitwal. (16) Shri Srimali. 

(8) Lad. (17) Shrawagi. 

(9) Neve or Newad. 



260 Jain 

Of these, the first ten appear to have come from the north and the 
rest from Southern India. They are all endogamous. Each of these 
divisions is further split up into eighty-four exogamous sections of the 
eponymous type, a list of which is appended to this article. These 
endogamous groups differ so widely from one another in their 
physical appearance, manner and usages, that a separate description 
of each in detail is necessary. 

Oswals — are tall, handsome men and derive their name from 
an ancient village called Osian, the ruins of which are to be seen 
in the neighbourhood of Jodhpur. They are almost all Shwaitambar 
Jains, and were converted to the Jain faith by Jinadattasuri, the forty- 
fourth teacher from Mhavira. A legend, however, says that a Jain 
priest, named Ratna Prabhu Suri, visited the village (Osian) and 
begged for alms, but was given nothing. Raja Oppal Deva was 
reigning there and the enraged Yati caused the death of the Raja's 
son by snake-bite. On the pacification of the saint, the boy was 
restored to life, but the king had to give consent to the conversion 
of the whole village to the Jain faith. This event is said to have 
taken place on the 8th of the light half of Sravana Samvat 282. 

Agarwals — a few have embraced Jainism and are not bigoted, 
for they intermarry freely with the Vaishnava Agarwals, the offspring 
being regarded as belonging to the religion of the father. 

Porwals — are said to have embraced Jainism some seven hun- 
dred years ago. There are very few found in these Dominions. 

ShraWagis — derive their name from the term ' Shrawak, 
or follower of the Jain religion, and trace their origin to Nemi Nath, 
a Yadu Bansi Raja of Dwarka. They are very strict in their reli- 
gious observances and carry the reverence for animal life to a ludicrous 
extent. They do not employ Brahmans for religious or ceremonial 
observances. They are Digambaras, do not eat food after sunset 
and light no lamp at night, because of the great regard they enter- 
tain for animal life. They are regarded as superior in rank to the 
Porwals. 

Srimalis — are immigrants from Gujerath, where they were 
first converted to Jainism. They intermarry with the Oswals and do 
not differ from them in their religious views. 



Jain 



261 



S/irt, Srimalis, Khandelwads, and Jaiswals — are found in very 
small numbers in the State. 

All these classes have been fully described in the report on 
the Marwadi Banias. They are the bankers, traders, shop-keepers 
and money-lenders in the towns and villages of the Dominions and 
form the v^fealthiest portion of the community. 

Swahitwah — are chiefly found in the Maratha Districts and 
have the appearance of Maratha Kunbis, from whom they were pro- 
bably originally recruited. They profess to belong to the Digamber 
sect of Jains and are strict in their religious observances. They are 
divided into two sub-castes (1) Swahitwal and (2) Setwal, based 
upon the jiifference of occupation. The latter weave bodice cloths 
and are cloth merchants, shop-keepers and money-lenders. The 
former are tailors. Unlike the orthodox Jains, they regulate their 
marriages, not by their traditionary eighty-four gotras, but by family 
surnames of the Maratha type. The surnames are : — 



Lavhande. 

Degaonker. 

Swahitkar. 

Burse. 

Gajare. 

Annadate. 

Sonatakle. 

Maisker. 

Hudekar. 

Wakale. 

Ghante. 

Ukhalker. 

Baratker. 

Kursale. 

Bondare. 

Pahinker. 



Ghodke. 

Chakote. 

June. 

Sangawar. 

Bhagwati. 

Kalyanker. 

Ambekar. 

Belavker. 

Mallavker. 

Panchwadker. 

Satalker. 

Alande. 

Jogi. 

Bhunde. 

Kalak. 

Dolas. 



Intermarriages within the same section are avoided. A man may 
marry the daughter of his maternal uncle, paternal aunt or elder sister. 

The Swahitwals marry their daughters as infants, and observe 
the standard marriage ceremony in vogue among the higher Maratha 



262 Jain 

castes. The preliminary negotiations are conducted by the parents of the 
couple and, after they have been satisfactorily arranged, an auspicious 
day is fixed for the celebration of the wedding. A formal visit is 
paid by the bridegroom's people for the purpose of seemg the bride, 
and presenting her with clothes and jewels by way of betrothal 
or confirmation of the match. The bride's people also visit and 
inspect the bridegroom and present him with a turban. Marriage 
booths are erected at both houses and the bride and bridegroom, in 
their respective houses, are smeared with turmeric paste and oil, 
the bride after the bridegroom, the bride also receiving a part of 
the paste prepared for the bridegroom. DeOa Pratishtha (tJie installa- 
tion of the deity presiding over weddings) is performed at the temple of 
Parasnath, or Mahavir, when two brass jars, representing Parmeshti 
(the wedding deity), are placed before the jina, silk bracelets are 
tied on the wrists of the assembled guests, and round spots of sandal 
paste are made on their foreheads. On the distribution of pan- 
supari, the assembly breaks up. Next morning, the ceasecrated brass 
pots are taken in procession to the house and deposited before the 
family god,. On the wedding morn, the bridegroom starts in pro- 
cession on a bullock or a horse to the bride's house and halts, on the 
way, at Maruti's temple, where he is ceremonially accorded a fitting 
welcome by the bride's party, with presents of the nuptial dress. 
On arrival at the bride's door, the bride's father waters his mount 
and the bride s mother bedaubs his forehead with k.urikum (red 
powder) and offers him milk. Under the wedding pandai, the 
bridegroom stands facing the east, the bride being opposite to him, 
clothed in gay attire and decked in jewels which have been presented 
to her by the bridegroom. A silk cloth is interposed between 
them, auspicious stanzas are chanted by the priest, and at the end of 
each stanza turmeric-coloured rice is sprinkled by the assembly over 
the heads of the bridal couple. The curtain is removed, the couple 
are seated on the seats upon which they were formerly standing, and 
a fine cotton thread is wound around them thirteen times. The 
Kanyadan ceremony is next performed, two bracelets made of the 
encircling thread being fastened one on the bride's wrist and the 
other on that of the bridegroom. Their garments are knotted to- 



Jain 263 

gether, the- bridegroom wears the sacred thread and manguhutra is 
tied around the bride's neck. These rites, from Antarpat to the 
wearing of manguhutra by the bride, form the essential portion of the 
ceremony. The ceremony concludes with a feast given to relatives 
and friends. Widows are allowed to marry and divorce is recognised. 
Both widows and divorced wives marry by inferior rites, in which the 
garments of the bridal couple are knotted together and a feast is 
furnished to the relatives. Polygamy is permitted and a man may 
have as many wives as "he can afford to maintain. A woman taken 
in adultery is expelled from the caste. In addition to the Ththankars, 
the Swahitwals worship the tutelary deity Padmakshi, whose temple 
is said to be* situated at Warangal. The Hindu gods are accorded 
due reverence. Brahmans are employed for religious and ceremonial 
observances. The Swahitwals burn their adult dead, the ashes being 
collected on the third day after death and thrown into a sacred 
stream. In pursuance of Jain injunctions, they do not perform the 
Sradha ceremony, but, contrary to them, they observe mourning for ten 
days. Their social position is high and all castes, from the Maratha 
Kunbis downwards, eat k^chi from their hands. They are vege- 
tarians and abstain from radishes, onions, garlic, assafoetida, clarified 
butter and liquor, in addition to flesh. 

Bogar — the Bhopal Jain Kasars, bangle dealers and braziers, 
claim to have originally been Kshatriyas, but were doomed by their 
patron goddess Kalika to the low occupation of a k^sar (brazier). 
They are to be found in small numbers in the Carnatic and Maratha- 
wada Districts. They have five endogamous divisions: (1) Chaturtha 
Bogar, (2) Pancham Bogar, (3) Pancham Jain, (4) Harad and (5) 
Apastamb Harad, the members of which are said to interdine but 
not to intermarry. They profess to follow the standard exogamous 
system of the Jains given in the list at the conclusion of this article. 
But this seems to be nominal, and marriages are actually governed 
by exogamous sections, mostly of the territorial type. Those pre- 
valent among the Maratha Bogars are — 

Halge. Vibhute. 

Chilwant. Dahibhate. 

Kathole. Kolape 



264 



Jain 



Deware. 

Warade. 

Bede. 

Dahatonde. 

Helasker. 

Aher. 

Mene. 

Husang. 

Bhandare 

Anuker. 

Katie. 

Bhujabale. 



Satpute. 

Chingare. 

Vannere. 

Mangulker. 

Ghase. 

Dabhe. 

Kemker. 

Adamane. 

Tambat. 

Pede. 

Lokhande. 

Bedare. 



Some of these section names, such as Bhujabale, Dahibhate, 
Dahatonde and Admane, are titular in character. A man is prohi- 
bited from marrying outside the sub-caste, or inside the section, to 
which he belongs. He may marry the daughters of his maternal 
uncle, paternal aunt or elder sister. He may also marry two sisters. 

Infant marriage is practised by the caste, the girls being married 
between the ages of two and twelve years. Polygamy is allowed, 
but is not practised on a large scale. 

The Bogar marriage does not differ materially from that in 
vogue among the local Brahmans, Saptapadi, or seven circuits 
around the sacrificial fire, being deemed the binding portion of the 
ceremony. Widows are allowed to marry again, and divorce is 
permitted on the ground of the wife's unchastity, barrenness or ill- 
temper. Divorced wives re-marry by the same rites as widows. 

The Bogars are Digambar Jains and confine their devotion to 
Parasnath, one of the Tirthanl^ars. Their favourite object of worship 
is Kalikadevi, called also Padmakshi, honoured on the fifteenth of 
Falgun (February) and on the third of the light of Asadha with 
offerings of sweetmeats and flowers. The gods of the Hindu pan- 
theon are also duly honoured. Brahmans are engaged at the marriage 
ceremony. 

The dead are burned in a lying posture on a funeral fire made 
generally of cowdung cakes. Children dying prior to teething are 



Jain 265 

buried. ,The ashes are collected on the third day after death and 
thrown into a pond or a river. Mourning is observed for ten days, 
and on the tenth day after death balls of flour or rice are offered for 
the benefit of the dead. On the twelfth and thirteenth days after 
death, the Sradha ceremony is performed and caste people are fed 
In this last rite the Bogars diverge from the general tenets of Jainism. 
The Bogars are vegetarians and rank socially below the Brahmans 
and above the agricultural castes of the locality. Previous to the 
marriage ceremony, the male members of the caste are invested with 
the sacred thread. Social disputes are referred for decision to a 
caste council, headed by a chief called mehetarya. There is a 
saying in <• Marathi regarding the origin of the caste — ' ' Panch 
Panchal Ani Sahawa Bhopal " which means that the goddess Kalika 
first created five Panchals, viz., Sonar, Lobar, Sutar, Tambatker 
and Silpi ; and then she created the sixth, the Bhopal caste. 

Kambhoja — are chiefly to be found in Telingana, extending 
as far north as Benares and Nagpur. Traditions say that they 
came originally from Kambhoja Desh (the country of Kambhoja) which 
was sitifated in Southern India, but cannot be identified at the present 
day. The almost Dravidian features of the Kambhoja give support 
to their southern origin. These people were probably converted to 
the faith between the ninth and twelfth centuries, during which Jainism 
flourished in Southern India in its full vigour, having been introduced 
first in Malabar, by the king Amogha Varsha, early in the ninth 
century, and subsequently patronised by the princes of Conjevaram, 
Madura and Mysore. The Kambhojas are Jains of the Digambar 
sect, and strictly adhere to the doctrines and tenets of their religion. 

As far as any information goes, the Kambhojas have no endogam- 
ous divisions. Their exogamous system is of the eponymous type, being 
based upon the eighty-four gotras into which all the Jains of India have 
been theoretically broken up. But the Kambhojas of Hingoli allege 
that their marriages are regulated by exogamous sections, which are a 
mixture of territorial, eponymous and titular names. Some of these 
are noticed below : — 

Mukerwar. Somashet. 

Kandi. Todal. 



266 Jain 

Kariwal. Arpal. 

Waral . Tyaral . 

Yambal. Madrap. 

Mahajan. Mashta. 

Yarmal. 
Marriages within the same section are avoided. Daughters of 
maternal uncles, paternal aunts and elder sisters may be married. 
Two sisters may be married to the same man. 

Infant marriage is practised by the caste, the girl's age being 
between two and twelve years. A bride-price, which sometimes 
amounts to Rs. 400, is paid to the girl's parents. 

After the bride has been selected, the parents of the bridegroom 
go to her house to see her and present her with clothes and jewels. 
The girl's parents also visit the bridegroom and make him presents. 
The marriage ceremony takes place in a wedding pandal, erected in 
front of the bride's house, and made of nine pillars 
representing the nine planets. The marriage shows very little 
divergence from the orthodox usage current among the higher castes 
of Hindus of the locality. Previous to the wedding, Padmawati, 
their tutelary goddess, and Parasnath, are invoked. Immediately after 
the Antarpat ritual, the bride and the bridegroom stand face to face, 
the bridegroom holding a pusti (mangalsutra) in his hand and the 
bride the sacred thread ; these they exchange after the priest has 
recited appropriate mantras. This rite is supposed to constitute the 
binding portion of the ceremony. On the 7th day after the wedding, 
the Naghali ceremony is performed, when 84 heaps of rice, repre- 
senting the 84 traditionary goiras of the sect, are arranged in a square 
in which the bride and bridegroom are made to sit by the officiating 
priest and to pronounce all the gob as. 

Widows are not allowed to marry again, nor is divorce 
recognised. Polygamy is permitted, there being no limit to the 
number of wives a man may have. 

A girl, on attaining puberty, is unclean for eleven days. During 
this time she is smeared daily with scented unguents, bathed in warm 
water and given nourishing food. On the eleventh day, she has to 
undergo purificatory rites. The Pvnyawachana ceremony is 



Jain 267 

performed, ' after which the girl steps over a line of live coals and 
becomes ceremonially pure. 

A woman after child birth is impure for twenty-one days. On 
the fifth day after birth, five pebbles are placed on the rim of the pit 
in which the umbilical cord was buried and around the pebbles are 
grouped, in heaps, cotton seeds, unhusked rice, wheat, millet and 
udid (a variety of kidney bean — Phaseolus Mungo). After these 
have been worshipped,, the midwife fills a pot with them, dances 
and sings a song, the refrain of which is, " May your baby live 
long and jump like a frog." On the twenty-first day after birth, 
the mother ^^oes out, worships the rim of a well, round which she 
walks three times, and returns home with a pot filled with water. 
On her return the child is placed in a cradle and named. 

The Kambhojas are orthodox Jains, carefully observing all the 
rites of the sect, and worshipping the twenty-four Tirthankars, four- 
teen Ashtakas and fourteen Jalmals. A grand festival is held in 
honour of the divinities from the 4th to the 14th of the light half of 
Bhadrapad (September). They make pilgrimages to Samet Shikhara, 
situated near Calcutta. Bhattdrakas, or Jain priests, are engaged tot 
religious and ceremonial observances. 

The dead are burned in a lying posture, with the head pointing 
to the south. The ashes ate collected on the third day after death 
and thrown into a sacred river. Moutning is observed fot thitteen 
days. No Sradha is petformed in honour of the deceased. 

The Kambhojas are vegetarians and abstain fiom flesh and 
feimented drink. As they are believed to be outside the pale of the 
Hindu caste, their social status cannot be determined. They do not 
eat at night, nor do they kindle a light for fear that moths may be 
attracted by the flame and perish. They do not eat kachi from the 
hands of any Hindu caste. They ate shop-keepers, cloth merchants, 
and retail dealers. 

Newad Jains— have a tradition that they came from Mewad into 
these Dominions. They call themselves Sawaji and have the title 
' Sa ' attached to their names. 

The Newads have no endogamous divisions, but their exogamous 
sections are numerous. A few of these ate 



268 Jain 

Dagoja. Dolchipure, , 

Phulade. Chandre. 

Ikshwak. Khapre. 

Rawul. Kare. 

Gore. 

Marriages are avoided within the same section. With regard 
to the prohibited relationship, which supplements the rule of exogamy, 
they are guided by the same laws as the other local castes. 

A Newad girl is married as an infant, and a bride-price of 
Rs. 1 ,000 is paid to her parents. This enormous increase in the 
bride-price is due partly to the paucity of girls among th«Tn and partly 
to the fact that they are debarred from intermarriages with the parent 
stock, from which they have long been isolated. The ceremony 
takes place at the bridegroom's house and extends over ten days. 
On the first day, Parasnath, Saraswati and other household gods are 
invoked to protect the couple from harm or evil during the ceremony. 
Offerings of wheaten cakes and milk are made to the deities and 
the caste people of the neighbourhood are feasted in their honour. The 
bride's party, on their arrival at the bridegroom's village, are accom- 
modated at the latter's house. After all the ceremonies previous 
to the wedding, such as Deca\arya, Haldi and Airani Kundalu, have 
been performed and all preliminary arrangements have been com- 
pleted, the bridegroom, dressed in yellow, with a red turban on his 
head, is paraded on horseback through the streets. On arrival at 
the entrance door of his house, the door is shut, the bridegroom s 
party standing outside and the bride's party standing inside the 
house. Then follows a curious dialogue between them. The bride 
makes enquiries regarding the bridegroom's whereabouts, his religion 
and his ways of living, to which the bridegroom responds. 
Q, — What is your religion? What saints do you adore? Who is 

your guru'^ What religious book guides you? How many 

times a day do you offer prayers ? Upon whom do you bestow 

your affections? 
A. — Sandhata is my religion, and 1 honour Arhanta (saints). 

Nighranta is my gum, and i have studied a million reli- 



Jain 269 

gious books. I offer prayers to God three times a day, and 
the whole world is the object of my love. 
Q. — Lord of men ! will you please give me information regarding 

your parents, your country and your ways of living ? 

A. — Beautiful damsel ! Hindusthana is my home and Sa is my 

name. Mounted on a noble charger and armed with a sword 

I roam like a Kshatriya warrior of the Moda clan. O ! maiden 

of charming teeth and the graceful form of the swan, adorn 

yourself in your choicest jewels, wear around your neck a 

garland of pearls drawn from the head of an elephant, and 

be prepared for the wedding. 

The dialogue ends and the door opens. The bridegroom 

is conducted to the wedding booth, and is made to stand 

before the bride. After he has been invested with the sacred 

thread, antarpat is held between them, and the pair are wedded by 

the Jain priest reciting benedictory mantras. The Kankan-bandhan and 

Kanydddn ceremonies follow, after which the bridegroom ties the 

mangakutra (a string of black beads) round the bride's neck. This 

last riti<al forms the binding portion of the ceremony, after which 

the marriage becomes irrevocable. 

The Newads are Jains of the Digambar sect, Parasnath and 
Padmavati are their favourite objects of worship, to whom, 
every Friday, they offer wheaten cakes and milk, which the devotees 
subsequently consume. 

A girl, on attaining puberty, is said to be ceremonially impure 
for sixteen days. On the 16th day, the Garbhadan ceremony (puri- 
fication of the womb) is performed, and the girl is allowed to cohabit 
with her husband. 

All Jains have a firm belief in magic and charms, and they 
pacify evil spirits, ghosts and witches, in the same way as other 
Hindu castes do. 

The dead are burnt in a lying posture, with the head pointing 
to the south. The corpse is washed, dressed in dry clothes, and borne 
to the cremation ground on a bier of galer wood (Ficus glomerata), the 
bearers uttering the word 'Arhan,' all the way. The dead body is 
placed on a funeral pyre of cowdung cakes and the chief mourner. 



270 



Jain 



walking three times round it, sets fire to the pile. The ashes are 
collected on the third day after death and thrown into the nearest river 
or lank. No Sradha is celebrated, but the adult dead are mourned 
for 10 days, if they are agnates, and for three days if cognates. 

The Maratha Kunbis and the lower classes eat k.achi from the 
hands of the members of this caste ; they may, therefore, be ranked 
above the Kunbis, and below the Brahmans, but, being outside the 
pale of Brahmanism, as stated above, their rank in the Hindu social 
system cannot be definitely stated. They abstain from flesh, wine, 
garlic and onions. In matters of food they observe all the restrictions 
imposed upon Jains in general. •: 

The Newads are generally rich traders and deal chiefly in silver 
and gold. 

List showing the Jain gotras and totems. 



No. 



Gotra. 



Totem. 



1 


Bharadwa)a. 


2. 


Gotum_ 


3. 


Koundinya. 


4. 


Karlanta. 


5. 


Kashyapa. 


6. 


Markandeya. 


7. 


Samudrlka. 


8. 


Mantapa. 


9. 


Manubha. 


10. 


Vallabha. 


11. 


Durwas 


12. 


Gargya. 


13. 


Marda. 


14. 


Chandrika. 


15. 


Budhika. 


16. 


Trotaka. 


17. 


Angira. 


18. 


Vasistha. 


19. 


Brahmawan. 


20. 


Bhargava. 


21. 


SKrimant. 


22. 


Mandannya. 


23. 


Bhriganga. 


24. 


Kanyengali. 


25. 


Bodhayana, 



Balsuri (a kind of tree). 

Avariya. 

Gollialada. 

Taldodra. 

Arliya. 

Rudrakshaya. 

Grapes. 

Arliya (wild cotton). 

Chuleel. 

Lakime. 

Atte. 

Basri. 

Chinangiya. 

Tengin (cocoanut) . 

Drikshin. 

Belwant (a kind of tree). 

Kankiya. 

Yelwal. 

Tariya. 

Boriya. 

Bobliya. 

Mantaniya. 

Karihanti (a kind of cotton). 

Chigachi. 

Kunvyalad. 



Jain 



271 



No. 



Gotra. 



26. 


Kapila. 


27. 


Parsharama. 


28. 


Yelwal. 


29. • 


MandodKari. 


30. 


Vishnuvad. 


31. 


Harit. 


32. 


Yegnawal. 


33. 


Lohit. 


34. 


Romajya . 


35. 


Ashiwal. 


36. 


Shiimant. 


37. 


t^tyayana. 


38. 


Lithit. 


39. 


Dankshiga. 


40. 


Marichi. 


41. 


Pulists. 


42. 


Indrapada. 


43. 


Pullakrita. 


44. 


Numan. 


45. 


Vishwadevi. 


46. 


. Vandalaka. 


47. 


Sardhala. 


48. 


Vishwamitra. 


49. 


Bhadrasaliya. 


50. 


Astama. 


51. 


Putima. 


52. 


Markandale 


53. 


Jamdagni. 


54. 


Jemanta. 


55. 


Jelsaliya 


56. 


tCajiva. 


57. 


Mudgal. 


58. 


Manglya. 


59. 


Udailk. 


60. 


Kapil. 


61. 


Panaka_ 


62. 


Stulika. 


63. 


Sayinta. 


64. 


Swetant. 


65. 


Yemtapa. 


66. 


Salayin. 


67. 


Devaka. 


68. 


Romana. 



Totem. 

Sirwalad. 

Tadsina 

Echal. 

Chitmuti. 

Tugari. 

Kariya (a species of shrub). 

Jaliya. 

Yekiya. 

Payatiya. 

Muitimant. 

Shitsad. 

Avala. 

Chandana. 

Shatawari. 

Kangini. 

Belwant. 

Tadukai. 

Kanjin (a kind of tree). 

Bhangiya (fcfcang). 

Nugiya. 
Medeya. 

Molagee. 

Devadwara. 

Bhutakshimara. 

Hevevina. 

Halsina. 

Arsina. 

Sasialad, 

Utotiya. 

Ankleke. 

Mangariya. 

Mulgita. 

Vijana. 

Kariali (a cotton plant) 

Mudasadiya. 

Neliya. 

Vipiyamara (a kind ofl tree^- 

Kalatiyama 

Karibayin (kadilimba). 

Kodsinmara. 

Kikichemara. 

Dalimba. 

Kadgi. 



272 



Jain 



No. 


Gotra. 


69. 


Santaja. 


70. 


Sampanna , 


71. 


Andavya. 


72. 


Metak. 


73. 


Matitri. 


74. 


Puttama. 


75. 


Achim. 


76. 


Betusa. 


77. 


Prabhudhanam, 


78. 


Gangeya. 


79. 


Netrayana . 


80. 


Visawa. 


81. 


Budhika. 


82. 


Indradanta. 


83. 


Samanta. 


84. 


Ratnaiya. 



Totem. 
Kadchigan. 
Alada. 
Tungilda, 
Hotijaliya. 
Chilbijaja. 
Dodnupina. 
Hemustiya. 
Alikayi. 
Sediya. 
Hariwalda. 
Nimbiyamra. 
Atiya. 
Mayina. 
Nllad. 

Samudraphala 
Madvalaja. 



XXXIX 

JiNGAR 

Jingar, Karajkar, . Lohar, Chitrakar, Chitari, Dalsingar, 
Fambatkar, Darji, Nakash Maistri, etc. — a widely diffused caste, 
regarding whose origin very little is known at the present day. 

Origin.^-No light is thrown upon the origin of the Jingars by 
the synonyms given above, which obviously refer to different 
occupations which they have taken up as the vicissitudes of 
fortune demanded. The members of the caste themselves 
claim to be Arya Kshatriyas, or Somavanshi Kshatriyas, i.e., 
Kshatriyas sprung from the moon, and give the following legend 
from the Brahmand Puran in support of their claim : "The gods 
and sages were once engaged in performing a sacrifice in Brihadaranya, 
when Janumandal, a giant, the grandson of Vritrasur, endowed with 
Brahmadev's blessing and made invincible, appeared with the 
object of obstructing the sacrifice. The gods and sages fled to Shiva. 
In Shiva's rage, a drop of his sweat fell from his brow into his mouth, 
assumed human form and was called Mauktik or Muktadev. 
Muktadev fought with Janumandal and defeated him. The gods 
and sages, pleased with his powers, enthroned him as their king and 
retired to the forests. Muktadev married Prabhavati, the daughter 
of the sage Durvas, by whom he had eight sons who married the 
daughters of eight other Rishis. He left the charge of his 
kingdom to his sons and withdrew with his wife to the forest to do 
penance. In the height of their power, the sons one day slighted 
the sage Lomaharshen, who cursed them, saying that they would lose 
their royal power and their right to perform Vedic ceremonies, and 
would wander in misery. Muktadev, on coming to know of the 
curse, implored Shiva to have mercy on his sons. Shiva could not 
recall the sage's curse, but, to lessen its severity, added that Mukta- 
dev's sons might perform the Vedic rights stealthily, that they \vould 
18 



274 JiNGAR 

be known from that day forward as Aryakshtris and would follow 
eight callings : — chitrakars or painters, suoamakars or goldsmiths, 
shilpkars or artists, patakars or weavers, patoehars or silk workers, 
lohars or blacksmiths, mritikakafs or potters and dhatu-mriti\a\ars 
or metal and earth workers", ("PoOna Gazetteer."). 

This theory of their Kshatriya origin derives some support from 
the personal appearance of the members of the caste. They have 
light complexions and delicate regular feati/res, while some of the 
men and many of the women are remarkably handsome. This type 
is singularly uniform and persistent throughout the Dominions, 
whether in the heart of Telingana or on the outfkirts of the 
Marathwada districts. It is a plausible conjecture that the Jingars 
are an offshoot of the Aryan race, and the degraded position they 
now occupy in Hindu society is due to their having adopted the 
occupation of saddlers, which is condemned by all Hindu castes. 

Internal Structure. — it is certainly remarkable that a caste 
so widely diffused should have no endogamous divisions based upon 
differences of locality. The character of their exogamous divisions 
differs in different parts of the country. In some districts, the cafete 
recognises 8 gotras : Angira, Bharadwaj, Goutama, Kanva, Kaun- 
danya, Vasishta, Shandilya and Kausik, ail of which belong to the 
Brahmanical system. In other districts these Brahmanical golras are 
neglected and marriages are regulated by sections of the Maratha 
type, the names of some of which are : — 

Nidhankar. More. 

Borkar. Ingale. 

Wankher. Pimpale. 

Sumase. Darule. 

Chavan. Kapse. 

Khangle. Chormare. 

Dhade. Dorle. 

Yendhe. Durgkar. 

Dharpawar. Nagare. 

Kalbande. 
In either case, marriage between persons belonging to the same 
section is forbidden. No other section is a bar to marriage, pro- 



.JlNGAR "2>5 

jided ,lj;^at a man does, not marryany of his fii-st coiisins, teitcepf 'the 
.daughters of his paternal aunt or maternal uncle. A man may 
marry twp sisters, provided he marries the elder of the two first but 
,],Clot otherwise. 

,.,[, Marriage — The Jingars marry their daughters as infants 

],b|€!tween the ages of 5 and 12 and social stigma attaches to a g^rifl's 

parents if she is not provided with a husband before she rfeacheS'the 

age. of puberty. Polygamy is recognised so far, that if a man's first 

wife is barren he inay take a second. )■■ 

The marriage ceremony is of the standard type. A few days 
before tR^ weddirig, the Mangani takes place ; the boy's father mates 
a spot of red aniline powder (/jan^um) on the girl's forehead and pte- 
i!sents her with a new sari and Rs. 2, and her mother with two saris 
and five pieces of bodice cloth. On this occasion a feast is given by 
the bride's father, at which liquor is provided by the father of the 
'bridegroom. The match being thus ratified, a date is fixed for' the 
celebration of the marriage by consulting a Brahhnan, exfiert 
in the* science of astrology. After the usual ceremony of Tel Haldi 
! has been gone through, and a marriage booth has been erected' at 
the house of the bride as well as at that of the bridegroom, offerings 
are made to family gods, and the deoak (marriage guardian), consist- 
ing of five earthen pots and leaves of the mango and saundad {Prosbpis 
spicigera) is ceremonially deposited tmdet the wedding canopy. 
'This ceremony is performed at the houses of the bride and bride- 
groom separately. ' On the wedding morning, an earthen platform is 
biiilt at the house of the bride. 

At sunset, the marriage procession is formed at the house of 'the 
bridegroom and makes noisy progress to the house of the bride. 
There, under the wedding canopy {mandap), the bride and bride- 
groom are made to stand opposite each other, the bridegroom 
facing the east, and' after the holding of the ajttarpat between the bridal 
pair and the recital of appropriate mantras (wedding texts) the family 
priest ties kankanatn (cotton thread bracelets with woollen strings) 
on the wrist of each. The ceremony of Kan^adan follows and the 
■ bridegroom receives a present of' money and clothes from his fdther- 
in-!aw. Finally horn (the sacred fire): is ignited and the bridegnoom 



276 JiNGAR 

taking the bride in his arms, walks five times round the fire, after 
which the family priest invests him with the sacred thread. The 
married couple then leave the mandap and go to the part of the 
house where the family deities have been placed. They worship and 
make offerings to these and bow before the elders ; this concludes 
the marriage. Antarpat is deemed to be the binding and essential 
portion of the ceremony. 

When a girl is sent to her husband's house for the first time, a 
ceremony known as Mursada takes place. A relative of the 
bridegroom is sent to the bride's house with a present of a new sari, 
five pieces of bodice cloth (khana) and a quantity of uncooked articles 
of food (shidori). The bride's father takes the uncooked food, mixes 
with the articles some of his own and has the mixture cooked. With 
this food he entertains his relatives and other members of the caste, 
including the Panchayat, after which the girl leaves for her husband's 
village, accompanied by all the guests present at the feast. On the 
boundary of the girl's village the party stops, and is treated to 
liquor at the expense of the bridegroom. Pan-supari is therf distri- 
buted and the party returns home, bidding the girl farewell and 
leaving her to pursue the journey with her escort. 

Among the Jingars, consummation does not take place until after 
the girl has attained puberty and the Garbhadan ceremony (purification 
of the womb) has been performed. 

Widow-Marriage and Divorce — The Jingars allow their 
widows to marry again by the same form and in the same manner as 
the Maratha Kunbis. A widow is not restricted in her choice of a 
second husband, nor is .she required to marry her late husband s 
younger brother or any other relative. Divorce is permitted, with the 
sanction of the caste Panchayai, if the wife is adulterous or if the 
couple do not agree. 

Religion — The Jingars are orthodox Hindus and worship the 
local Hindu divinities with offerings and sacrifices common among the 
people. Special reverence is paid to the god Mahadev ana the 
goddess Ingala, whom they regard as their patron deities. Among the 
gods are Khandoba, Bahiroba, Hanuman and other local minor 
deities. On the 8th day of the light half of Aswin, the goddess 



JiNGAR 277 

BhavanL is worshipped by the members of the caste, with offerings of 
ripe plantains, which are afterwards eaten by the votaries. Goats are 
also sacrificed on this occasion. Brahmans are employed for religious 
and ceremonial purposes and incur no disgrace on that account. 

Ancestors in general are propitiated in the latter half of the 
month of Bhadrapad (September) and also on the third day of the 
light half of Vaishakh (May). 

Disposal of the Dead — The dead are burnt in a lying posture, 
with the head pointing to the south. The ashes are collected on the 
third day after death and thrown into a river or stream near by. The 
bodies qf children and of those that die of smallpox are generally 
buried, bradha is performed on the 1 0th day after death, when 
they offer pmdas (rice balls) for the benefit of the departed soul. 
Mourning is observed for ten days for all agnates. 

Social Status — The social status of the caste does not admit 
of precise definition. Though their appearance, customs, and habits 
seem to entitle them to a place among the higher classes of Hindu 
society, the latter refuse to give them such a position. They are 
isolate'd and disliked, and considered impure even by the lowest 
castes, who will not eat food cooked by a Jingar. The reason alleged 
for this degradation of the caste in social estimation is, that working 
in leather is condemned by all respectable people and the Jingars, as 
saddlers, have to touch leather. The members of the caste, however, 
will eat cooked food only from the hands of Brahmans. They eat 
fish, fowl, and mutton and indulge in strong drink. They wear the 
sacred thread. 

Occupation The characteristic occupation of the caste is 

saddlery ; but as the demand for saddles has declined, they have 
taken to other pursuits and crafts that pay better. They are, at 
the present day, goldsmiths, carpenters, tailors, painters, wood- 
carvers, farriers, carvers in metal, and stone and silk workers. They 
are also engaged in casting metals, in making figures of clay and cloth, 
and in repairing boxes, padlocks and watches. The Jingars have a 
caste council and their social disputes are settled by the meetings of 
the caste people. 



XL 

JOGl 

Jogi, Yogi (Sanskrit) — a class of religious mendicants whose 
principal object of worship is Siva, under the form of Bhairava. Tfie 
sect was founded by Gorakhnath, a contemporary of Kabir, who 
flourished early in the fifteenth century and is now recognised as an 
incarnation of the god Mahadev. It is said to include tweliJe orders, 
of disciples, who are to be distinguished from one another by rings 
of different materials, which they wear in their ears as religious 
symbols. Of these twelve groups, only two, as being numerous in 
these Dominions, have been treated in this article. They are : 
(1) Davre Jogis, who belong to the Navanath Sect, and (2) Ravals, 
who are Adinath Siva jogis. Both of these sects seem to have been 
originally recruited from among the Maratha Kunbis and have, .at the 
present day. developed into independent castes. 



XL-A 
Davre Jogi 



Davre Jogi, Davre Gosavi, Bharadi — derive their name 
from the dabara, a small drum shaped like an hour glass, on 
which they play when begging or singing religious hymns in honour 
of Bhairava. Their name Bharadi' comes from bharad, a sort oi 
gondhal dance, which they are called upon to perform at the copi- 
mencement of the marriage ceremony of their Kunbi disciples, and jp 
which the 'Trident' of Nath is worshipped, under their superin- 
tendence, by the house-holder and songs are sung in honour of the saint. 
The Davre Jogis admit to their community only Maratha Kunbis 
and members of tho^e castes higher than themselves in social standing. 
These are mostly children, dedicated by their parents to the god 
Bhairava in fulfilment of a vow. The ceremony of initiation is pet- 



Joci 279 

formed generally at the temple of Bhairava, at Sonari, when the 
novice, male or female, is eight years of age. A pious Bharadi is 
called in and the neophyte, squatting before him, has his ear-lobes 
bored with a knife and mudras, or brass rings, inserted in them. 
The guru gives to the convert a shingi, or hornpipe, and a dabara, 
pr small drum, and enjoins him not to eat with low-caste people, to 
collect alms by singing hymns in honour of Bhairava, and to perform 
the bharad dance only in the houses of their spiritual disciples. At 
the same time he whispers in his ear the mantra or sacred word, which 
is to guide him through life and which must never be divulged to any 
one. 

Intertt^l Structure — The Davre Jogi caste has three endoga- 
mous divisions: (1) Davre proper or Bharadi, (2) Mend Jogi 
and (3) Sali Mali ; the members of these can neither intermarry nor 
interdine. Each of these is further divided into a number of exoga- 
mous sections which, as shown below, are of the Maratha type : — 

(1) Wagha. (7) Devgune. 

(2) Jadhava. (8) Kasar. 
•(3) Shinde. (9) Wable. 

(4) Chavan. (10) Rajle. 

(5) Gaikwad. (11) Wamane. 
(6) Dharde. 

As a rule, a man may not marry a woman who belongs to his 
own section. He may marry the daughters of his paternal aunt, 
his maternal uncle, and his sister, but he cannot marry the daughter 
of his maternal aunt. Two sisters may be married to the same man, 
provided that the elder is married first. Polygamy is permitted, in 
theory, but the extent to which this is practised depends on the means 
of the individual concerned. 

Marriage. — The Davre Jogis profess to marry their daughters as 
infants; but adult marriage is by no means unknown among the poorer 
classes. The marriage ceremony in use among them differs little 
from that of the Maratha Kunbis, except that Haldi-lavane, or the 
smearing of the bride and bridegroom, is performed under a bower 
made of arandi leaves {Ricinus communis), and the bridal pair are 



280 JoGi 

made to stand, each in a basket of iron, at the time when (he antarpat 
is held between them. Widows may marry again and are in no 
way restricted in the selection of their second husband. The ritual 
in use is very simple. The bride and bridegroom are seated opposite 
to each other and, their foreheads being made to touch, their gar- 
ments are tied in a knot. Divorce is permitted at the option of 
either party and divorced women are allowed to marry again by the 
same rite as widows. 

Religion — Bhairava is the tutelary deity of the caste. They 
also worship Jotiba of Ratnagiri, Khandoba of Jejuri, Bhavani of 
Tuljapur and Renuka of Mahur. Brahmans are employed for reli- 
gious and ceremonial purposes. Their gums (spiritual »udvisers) are 
Kanphate Jogis, so called because of their custom of slitting their 
ears and wearing a small cylindrical object in the incision. They 
make pilgrimages to holy places and observe all the fasts and festivals 
of the local Hindus. 

Disposal of the Dead — The Davre Jogis bury their dead in a 
sitting posture, with the face turned towards the east. The corpse 
is taken to the burial ground in a zoli, or a bag of cloth, the funeral 
procession being accompanied with music made by the beating of 
drums and the blowing of shingis, or horn pipes. Before burial, the 
body is smeared with oihhuti (cowdung ashes), bel (/^gle Marmelos) 
leaves and flowers are offered to it, and water is poured into its mouth. 
It is then lowered into the grave and gdnja (Indian hemp), tobacco, 
wine, or whatever object or food the dead person was fond of when 
alive is placed by its side. Led by the chief mourner, the relatives 
throw earth into the grave, which is then filled up. After further 
offerings of bel leaves and flowers have been made to the departed 
soul, the relatives and friends forming the funeral procession march 
three times round the grave and return to the house of the deceased 
person. On their arrival, they chew nrm {Melia indica) leaves, wash 
their mouths and retire to their homes. 

On the third day after death, offerings of flowers, bel leaves 
and vibhuti are again made at the grave and a feast, known as 
bhundara, is given to caste brethren. No regular Sradha is per- 
formed, nor is mourning observed by the members of the caste, 



JoGJ 281 

Social Status — In point of social standing, the Davre Jogis 
rank immediately below the Maratha Kunbis. They cannot, however, 
eat kflchi or pakki with men of any caste lower than Marathas 
in social position. They eat fish, fowl and mutton and indulge 
occasionally in strong drink. 

Occupation — The Davre Jogis are professional mendicants, 
wandering from village to village, collecting alms and performing 
bharad at the marriages of their disciples and also on other cere- 
monial occasions. Their services are specially called in by the Maratha 
cultivators during NaVratra, or the first nine nights of Aswin (Sep- 
tember), which are sacred to the goddess Bhavani. The bharad 
usually begins at sunset and lasts throughout the night. The perform- 
ers first sing pavadas, or ballads, in honour first of Bhavani and then 
of Bhairavanath, to the mingled sounds of drums, cymbals and a 
fiddle (tuntune). The audience is, at the same time, entertained with 
humorous episodes regarding the Hindu gods and heroes. When the 
rainy season sets in they return to their homes and spend the wet months 
in weaving \achas, or girdles. A few have recently taken to 
agriculture, as their hereditary calling is not found to be sufficiently 
paying. They form part of the village community, being the 7th 
of the 12 alutedars, or village servants, entitled to a share in the 
produce. 

XL-B 

Raval Jogi 

Raval, Raul, Shiv Jogi, Kanialanath Raval — a very 
numerous sect of Jogis, extending as far as the Karnatic in the 
south and Gujarath in the north. The etymology of the name 'Raval' 
is obscure, and the meagre traditions of the Ravals throw no light 
upon their origin. The Maratha Ravals, like the Davre Jogis, 
appear to have been mainly recruited from the Maratha Kunbis, as 
most of their exogamous sections are purely of the Maratha type. 
Some of the section names, given below, will illustrate this point — 

Shinde. Petkar. 

Lakhe (lac). Bhopale (gourd). 



282 JoGJ 

Jirekar (cummin seeds). Keskar. 

Yadav. Sukale. 

Chaturbhuj. Bhise. 

Bhot. Diwale. 

Unode. Narwade. 

Chavan. Jadhav. 

Pawar. Kavade. 

Outsiders are freely admitted into the' community, provided 
that they are Kunbis, Malis, Rajputs, or members of castes higher 
than these in social status. The ceremony of initiation slightly 
differs from that of the Davre Jogis. A square of limesWne powder 
is traced on the ground and is surrounded by nine burning lamps made 
of wheaten flour. The novice, with his head shaved and after having 
bathed, is seated within it on a low wooden stool. His body is smeared 
with ashes of burnt cowdung and two necklaces, one of a black 
woollen string of nine threads and another of rudraksha wcxkI 
(Elaocarpus Ganitrm), containing a hundred and eight beads, a^e 
hung about his neck. The guru then gives to the oonvert a 
"Trident, a piece of cloth (koupin) and a zoli (alms bag) and 
whispers in his ear the manlra or sacred word. Their ears are not 
necessarily bored, but, when they are perforated, mudras, or ear- 
rings made of conch shell, are inserted in them. 

The Rawals profess to haVe one gotra, 'Shastra' only, which is 
of course inoperative in the regulation of their marriages, which are 
governed by the exogamous sections mentioned above. Marriage 
between persons belonging to the same section is forbidden. A man 
may marry the daughter of his sister, his paternal aunt or his maternal 
uncle, but he cannot marry his maternal aunt's daughter. Polgamy 
is permitted, but is rarely resorted to in practice. • 

Marriage — The Ravals profess to marry their daughters as 
infants, but cases of girls being married after puberty are not uncom- 
mon, when the parents are poor, or if for any other reason there has 
been a difficulty in finding a husband. Their marriage ceremony is of 
the standard type. At the Mangani, or betrothal, the girl is presented 
with clothes by the father of the bridegroom and liquor is provided for 



J6Gi 283 

tHe parichds and other caste brethren present on the 'occasion, in con- 
firmation of the match ^ Their marriage guardian, or deoak, consists 
of leaves of the mango, rui (Calotropis gigantea) and saundad 
{Prosopis spicigera) trees. On the wedding day, the boy is con- 
ducted on a horse or a bullock to the girl's house where, on arrival, 
he is received at the door by the girl's mother. The bridal pair 
stand facing each other under the wedding booth, the antarpat, 6t 
curtain, is held between, them and mangalashtak., or sacred texts, 
are repeated by the Brahman officiating as priest. This ritual is 
deemed to be the binding and essential portion of the ceremon}^. 
After this cerimony, the garments of the wedded couple are tied in 
a knot and they bow down before the family gods and elders ; the caste 
people and relatives are entertained at a feast and the ceremony is 
brought to an end. 

Widow=Marriage and Divorce — Widows are allowed to marty 
again by the meagre form of Mohatar, which consists in tying the 
garments of the bridal pair in a knot and in bringing their foreheads 
into contact. A Brahman officiates as a priest. The caste council 
claim Rs. I2'/2 at the marriage of a widow and Rs. lYz at that of 
a virgin. Divorce is permitted with the sanction of the caste 
Panchayat and is symbolised by the breaking of a straw. Divorced 
women may marry again by the same form and in the same manner 
as widows. 

Religion — In matters of religion, the Ravals differ very little 
from the Davre Jogis. Their favourite deities are Bhairav, Khandoba, 
Jotiba, Bhavani and Renuka. They observe all the fasts and festivals 
of the local Hindus and make pilgrimages to holy places. Reverence 
is paid to Gorakhnath, the founder of the sect), Machindranath, and 
also to the 'Trident' and Unga of Siva. Like the Maratha Kunbis, 
they worship images of departed ancestors, especially of those who 
have died childless or as bachelors. They employ Brahmans on 
religious and ceremonial occasions. 

On the eighth of the light half of Aswin (October) they perfofm 
their chief religious ceremony, known as Bija Horn. On that day 
a goat is sacrificed in honour of Bhairav. Its blood is thrown on the 
stoed fire kindled for ithe occasion and its flesh i is cooked and offered 



284 JoGi 

to Bhairav. The cooked flesh is afterwards eaten by- the members' 
of the family. This ceremony is performed by the house-holder 
himself. 

Disposal of the Dead — When a Raval is on the point of death, 
a few drops of Ganges water and some cow's urine are poured into 
his mouth. After death the corpse is washed, smeared with VihhuU 
(ashes of burnt cowdung) and covered with clothes of an ochre colour 
(bhagava). The body is then placed in a sitting posture, with its 
legs crossed, and frankincense and camphor are burnt before it. After 
this, it is carried to the burial ground in a zoli (bag of cloth) by four 
men, a fifth one holding the top knot of the corpse agd a sixth man 
heading the funeral procession and blowing a conch shell. 

The grave is three sided and about four feet deep, and at the 
bottom an arched niche is cut for the reception of the corpse. On 
arrival, the body is lowered into the grave and seated in the niche with 
the face pointing to the east. After a sufficient quantity of salt has been 
thrown over the dead body, the grave is filled in with earth and a 
mound is raised over it. Finally, a Raval stands over the mound, 
blows the conch shell and recites mystic hymns (mantras) for the 
benefit of the depauted soul. On the utterance of the last syllable, 
each member of the funeral party throws a handful of dust on the 
mound and they all return home. The mourners besmear their fore- 
head with vibhuti, signifying that they are free from impurity. No 
regular Sradha is performed, but on the third day after death, and 
on the eleventh, a garland of flowers is hung from the roof of the 
house so that its free end may be just over a water pot and a dough 
lamp fed with ghi. A goat is killed and its flesh is offered before 
the emblem. The funeral rites terminate with a feast to the caste 
brethren. Souls of departed ancestors, in general, are propitiated 
on Nagapanchami or the 5th of the light half of Shravana (August) 
and also in the dark half of Bhadrapad (September). 

Social Status and Occupation — The Ravals rank socially 
below the Maratha Kunbis, from whose hands they accept kflchi, 
or uncooked food. Only the lowest unclean classes will eat food 
cooked by a Raval. The members of the caste eat all flesh, except 
beef and pork, and indulge in strong drink. Their characteristic 



JoGi 285 

occupation is the collecting of alms in the name of Bhairava. Many 
of them have now taken to cultivation and trading and a few have 
adopted the profession of tailors. They also weave coarse cloth 
and tape. 



XLI ■"''"'■ 

JOHARI 

Jouhari, Javheri, Rammayye, Manyafi — a very small caste of 
pedlars, jewellers, and lapidaries, found in the Districts of Parbhani 
and Aurangabad, and also in some parts of Telingana. 

Origin and Internal Structure — They say tbey came from 
Malwa, but the date of their immigration and their original affinities 
are lost in obscurity. However this may be, their physical features, 
which markedly distinguish them from the Marathas, the 
peculiar formation of their exogamous sections, their employment 
of Kanojya Brahmans for religious and ceremonial purposes and their 
marriage customs, give ample proof of their Northern Indian origin, 
and it may be reasonably supposed that a long residence amidst an 
alien people has entirely cut them off from the parent tribes. They 
have no endogamous divisions, while only a few of their exogamous 
sections can be ascertained. They are shown below. 

(1) Digwa. (5) Bhatti. 

(2) Mahaisma. (6) Shishoja. 

(3) Kapasha. (7) Gonda. 

(4) Sony a. 

The Shishoja, Gonda and Rathod sections are common to them and 
to the Rajputs. The origin of the remaining sections cannot be 
traced. The law of exogamy is practised by the caste. A man 
may marry two sisters, provided he marries the elder first. Girls 
are married either as infants, or when they become adults, between 
the ages of seven and twenty. If an unmarried girl becomes 
pregnant, she is called upon to disclose the name of her lover and, 
if he belongs to her caste, he is compelled by the caste Panchayat to 
marry her. Adultery with an outsider incurs expulsion from the 
caste. Polygamy is permitted and no theoretical limit is imposed 
upon the number of wives a man may have. 



JOHARf 287 

* 

,,, Marriage.: — The initiative towards marriage is taken by the 
father of the boy, who selects a suitable girl for his son and makes 
the first proposal towards the settlement of the match. After the 
hor95copes of the couple have been found to agree, and the wedding 
day has been fixed, a feast (bhandara) is given by the boy's father to 
Ijjs relatives and friends in. confirmation of the betrothal. Prior to 
the, wedding, Guru Nanaka, Balaji, Khandoba and Tuljapur Bhavani 
are honoured with a "variety of offerings. On the day before the 
wedding, both parties, in their respective houses, are smeared with 
turnieric paste and oil. After the bridegroom has been taken in 
procession •^e the bride's house, the couple are seated side by side, 
facing the east, on two wooden stools, the bride being to the right 
pf ,the bridegroom. Ganesh, the deity which presides over success 
ini life, is worshipped and the garments of the couple are fastened in 
a knot by the officiating priest, who is a Kanojya Brahman. The 
sacred fire, or horn, is prepared and, before it, is performed the 
Kpn^adan ceremony, which consists of the formal gift of the bride 
by her iather to the bridegroom and his formal acceptance of her. 
The family priest - ^gitss auspicious mantras and at the end 
of each manfra sprinkles rice on the heads of the couple. There- 
upon the bride, followed by the bridegroom, walks six times round 
the sacrificial fire, keeping it on their right. After the couple have 
resumed their seats, they solicit the permission of their parents, the 
family priest and the members of the Pancha^at, to make thd 
seventh round and, on permission being obtained, they circumam- 
bulate the fire the seventh time, the bridegroom on this occasion 
leading the way. This last round, which forms the essential portion 
of the ceremony, entitles the bride to sit on the left of her husband. 
Widow=Marriage — A widow is allowed to marry again, but 
she may not marry her late husband's younger or elder brother. 
In other respects, no restriction is imposed upon her in her choice of 
a second husband, provided she carefully observes the law of 
exogamy. On a dark night, the bridegroom goes to the bride's 
hpuse ; both are seated side by side and their garments are knotted 
together by the officiating Brahman ; this concludes the ceremony. 
The whole of the next daj^ the couple pass in cpnc^almepf, and at 



288 JOHARI 

evening they visit the village Hanuman's temple, after which they 
return to the bridegroom's house. A feast to the relatives and 
friends ends the proceedings. A bachelor cannot marry a widow 
or a divorced wife, unless he is previously married to a rui plant 
{Calotropis gigantea). 

Divorce Divorce is granted by the caste Panchayat, on the 

ground of the wife's unchastity or barrenness. If the divorced 
woman marries again, her first husband is entitled to recover from 
her all the money he spent on her marriage as a virgin. Sons by 
a widow, or a divorced wife, and those by a virgin wife all share 
equally in their father's property. 

Religion In point of religion, the Joharis profess to belong to 

the Nanakashahi sect, and pay reverence to Guru Nanaka, the great 
founder of the Sikh religion. In honour of their guru they make 
pilgrimages to Nander, and other places sacred in the Sikh religion. 
They also pay devotion to Balaji of Devalagaon, Khandoba of Jejuri 
and Bhavani of Tuljapur. The minor gods they appease are 
Mahalaxmi, Sitaladevi, Hanuman, and other local deities. ' 

Disposal of the Dead — The Joharis generally burn their adult 
dead, but occasionally bury them if they are too poor to bear the 
cremation expenses. The corpse of a male is covered with a cloth 
and taken to the place of cremation. A dead woman, whose husband 
is alive, is rubbed with oil, bathed and dressed in a green sari. 
In the case of a widow the body is clothed in red. The ashes are 
collected on the third day after death and thrown into the Ganges, 
or any stream that may happen to be close by. Mourning 
is observed ten days for adult agnates, and three days for children. 
On the 12th day after death, Sradha is performed and the caste people 
entertained. The ceremony is repeated every month during the 
first year, but subsequently only once a year. Offerings to deceased 
ancestors, in general, are made on the third day of the light half of 
Vaishakha (May) and in the dark half of Bhadrapad (September). 

Social Status and Occupation — Socially, the caste ranks 
higher than the Maratha Kunbis, and will take cooked food from 
Brahmans. They drink spirits and fermented liquors and eat fish, 
fowls, goats and deer. Men wear the sacred thread. Women are 



JOHARl 289 

dressed like, the local Kunbi females, but are prohibited, by a tribal 
custom, from wearing toe-rings. 

The original occupation of the caste is believed to have been 
trading in chinaware, but, since the decline of the trade, they li*ve 
been dealing in jewellery, selling pearls, corals and other jems and 

glass beads of a variety of colours. A few have, of late, taken to 

agriculture, holding land on small tenures. Some are engaged as 

confectioners and personal servants. 

The Joharis have a Cciste Panchayat which settles social disputes 

and decides questions of caste usage. 



XLll 

JOSHI 

Joshi — a class of professional astrologers and fortune-tellers, 
originally recruited from the Marathas. but now consolidated into an 
independent caste. They lead a life of periodical wandering, leaving 
their homes in the beginning of November and returning before 
the rainy season sets in. In their peregrinations they vjsit not only 
places in Maharashtra, but penetrate far into Telingana. The name 
' Joshi ' is said to be derived from the Sanskrit word " Jyotishi ' — an 
astrologer. 

Internal Structure—The Joshis embrace three classes : 
Sahadeva, Amrapurkar and Sarvade, who neither intermarry nor inter- 
dine. (1) The Sahadeva Joshis, also known as Huseni Brahmans, claim 
descent from the famous astrologer Sahadeva, the grandson of the 
great poet Kalidas, and the son of Devidas and his wife Bhadali. 
They earn a livelihood by deciphering panchangs (almanacs), telling 
fortunes by palmistry and casting nativities. Wearing a long robe and 
a turban, after the fashion of the Maratha Brahmans, they go from 
village to village and from house to house, explaining to the villagers 
their future destinies. They are much respected by the simple folk, 
who are ever anxious to have a peep into futurity. Ordinarily, they 
are dressed like Brahmans and wear the sacred thread. Socially, 
they rank higher than the other sub-castes. (2) The Amrapurkar Joshis 
take their name from the ancient village of Amrapur, the precise site 
of which is unknown at the present day. They collect alms in the 
name of the goddess Bhavani of Tuljapur. When on their rounds, 
they wear a long oily gown of patches, reaching to the ankles, a 
wreath of cowrie shells around their neck, and a turban after the 
Maratha fashion, and carry a bag slung on their shoulders. They 
sing songs in honour of their patron deity, to the music of the tttntm, 
a one-stringed fiddle. The house-holders first pour oil on their bodies 



JosHi 291 

and then gfve them alms. In Telingana they are known by the name 
of 'Teli Rajas.' (3) The Sarvade Joshis are mostly found in the 
Maratha Districts of Aurangabad, Bir and Parbhani. The etymology 
of the word 'Sarvade' is uncertain. They are fortune-tellers and 
astrologers. They wear a long coat and a Maratha turban, and beg 
by beating a hudki, a sort of drum. Their prophecies are not believed 
in and they are driven away from door to door. 

The caste is broke^i up into exogamous sections of the Maratha 
type of surnames. A few of them are noticed below : — 

(1) Sonune. (10) More. 

(2)t^Gajkesar. (11) Jadhava. 

(3) Panchange. (12) Shinde. 

(4) Bhise. (13) Ghadage. 

(5) Bhagawat. (14) Mitrak. 

(6) Lambkane. (15) Samsari. 

(7) Vaidya. (16) Mahajan. 

(8) Pote. (17) Sasane. 
(?) Renukadas. (18) Ghogre. 

Exogamy is regularly practised and is supplemented by the same 
rules as are in vogue among the Maratha Kunbis. Girls are married 
either before or after they have attained the age of puberty. Girls 
that are offered to the goddess Bhavani, in fulfilment of vows, are 
called Aradhinis. Such girls are enjoined not to marry but to lead 
a religious life begging in the name of Ambabai and subsisting on 
alms. The Aradhinis dress like the Maratha women, and set out, 
for begging, with cowrie wreaths round their necks and torches m 
their hands. 

Marriage The marriage ceremony is a copy of the ritual 

followed by the other Maratha castes. Deva devak, or the marriage 
guardian deity, is represented by an axe, a bundle containing mango 
leaves and a wheaten cake ; and it is installed on the muhurta- 
medha, or milk-pillar. The essential portions of the ceremony are (1) 
Kanydddn, or the formal gift and acceptance of the bride, and the 
seven rounds taken about the sacrificial fire. A girl taken in adultery 
with a casteman is degraded and the couple are looked down upon 



292 JosHi 

as akarmasi, or bastards. Intrigue with an outsider is punished by 
instant expulsion from the caste. A widow is allowed to many again 
and divorce is permitted on the ground of adultery. Failing any male 
issue an Aradhini inherits her father's property. 

Religion — All Joshis pay devotion to the god Shani (the planet 
Saturn), whom they regard with special reverence. A horse shoe, 
obtained from the foot of a black horse, is set up to represent the 
deity and is worshipped daily by males and females with offerings of 
black flowers. On Shani Amdwds^d (the 30th lunar day falling on 
Saturday), Shani Poumima (the full moon day falling on Saturday) 
and Shani Pradosha, the image of the god is smeaj^d with oil. 
bathed with warm water, and worshipped by all the house-holders 
with offerings of flowers. The Kanfati Jogis act as their gurus or 
spiritual advisers and whisper in their ears the guru mantra, or mystic 
formula, which the devotees are enjoined to repeat several times daily. 
Departed ancestors receive attention from the members of the caste. 
Silver images are made in their names and worshipped by house- 
holders on every full moon and new moon day. Muhamipadan pirs 
and saints are revered in the form of black images set up among the 
house gods. 

The Amrapurkar Joshis are devotees of the goddess Bhavani. 
whose temple at Tuljapur, in the Usmanabad District, they visit every 
year on the Dassera festival (Aswin 10th, or middle of October). On 
this occasion they offer to the goddess their dress, the string of cowries 
they wear, and the torch they carry. Deshastha Brahmans are 
engaged for religious and ceremonial observances. 

Disposal of the Dead — The Joshis bury their dead in a sitting 
posture, with the face turned towards the east. A Kanfati Jogi is 
said to officiate at their funerals and to whisper a mantra into the ear 
of the corpse before it is lowered into the grave. The chief mourner 
walks three times round the grave and lowers an earthen vessel of 
water into it, after which the grave is filled in. A platform is sub- 
sequently erected upon the place. On the 1 0th day after death, 
Sradha is performed and pindas, or balls of ricfj^are offered to the 
deceased person. Deshastha Brahmans are .^.igaged as priests and 
conduct their maniage services. 



JosHi 293 

Occupation — As has been already stated, the characteristic 
occupation of the Joshis is begging. Many of them have now settled 
down to other pursuits and beg only on Saturdays, from house to 
house, and accept oil in the name of Shani and other grahds (planets). 
They accept charity in the form of clothes and grain bestowed by 
pious Hindus on eclipse days. They are also engaged in preparing 
horoscopes. 

Social Status — The social standing of the caste is low and they 
will accept food from all Maratha castes, except the barber and the 
washerman, and it is said that only Mahars and Mangs will eat from 
their hands.'* .They eat the flesh of goats, sheep and fowls and drink 
liquor, but not the leavings of other castes. 



XLIl-A 

JosHi — Vasudeva 

Vasudeva — a wandering caste of beggars, occasionally met with 
at fairs. ^ Rising early in the morning, they wash their hands and 
feet and put on a long robe reaching to the ankles and a turban after the 
Maratha fashion. Over this turban a cone-shaped hollow coronet of 
peacock feathers is worn and a piece of cloth is passed round the 
neck. They then wrap a piece of red cloth round the waist and 
hold cymbals, or chipalas, in their hands, which they strike when 
singing and dancing. When they see any one they begin singing 
and dancing and, after obtaining alms from him, they blow a 
pipe in the name of the god and the donor and depart. They 
trace their descent from Vasudeva, but they appear to be originally 
Marathas. The names of the men and women are like those of the 
Maratha Kunbis and their language is a conupt form of Marathi. 
Their surnames are Bhande, Solanke, Sinde, &c. Both infant and 
adult marriages are practised by the caste. A girl becoming 
pregnant before marriage, is outcasted. The marriage ceremony 
closely resembles that of the Maratha Kunbis. Shri Krishna is the 
god specially worshipped by the caste, but all the other Hindu gods 
are also revered. Before starting for purposes of begging, they worship 
their coronet of peacock feathers. The dead are buried in a sitting 



294 JosHi 

posture, with the face pointing towards the east. Mourning is observed 
ten days for adults. Funeral obsequies are performed on the 1 3th day 
after death. Deceased ancestors receive homage in the form of 
embossed plates. In matters of diet they eat mutton, fowl and all 
kinds of fish and drink spirits. They eat from the hands of Brahmans. 
Marathas, Vanis and Jangams. Socially, they rank with the Joshis. 
with whom they are said to interdine and intermarry. 

The Dandigans are a caste of wandering minstrels, who travel 
in parties and make their living by reciting, to music, the deeds of the 
Pandava princes. Each party consists of a choir of three men, one 
of whom plays on the mridang, an elongated drum, and'*the other on 
a tamburi, or four-stringed guitar, while the precentor sings and 
dances, relating mythological stories to the music of a dandi (a sort of 
one-stringed musical instrument), which he holds in one hand, and of 
cymbals, which he carries in the other. The Dandigans derive their 
origin from two Maratha youths, who were degraded for having 
committed a murder, and take their name from the musical instrument 
dandi, the badge of their calling. In every respect, except in their 
profession, the Dandigans are identical with the Vasudevas and need 
no separate description. 



XLII-B 

JOSHl — WaGHES & MURLIS 

Childless Marathas, under vows for children, dedicate their first- 
bom, whether a boy or a girl, to Khandoba, an incarnation of Shiva, 
whose chief shrines are at Jejuri, Malegaon and Khanapur near 
Bidar. The boys, on being dedicated, are invested with a bag ot 
deer-hide and styled Waghes, from wag, meaning 'a tiger'. They 
lead the life of wandering minstrels, moving about in bands and sing- 
ing songs and ballads in praise of Khandoba. Occasionally, they 
attend on Murlis. Those who have no liking for music take to culti- 
vation, or follow some other calling. 

The dedicated girls, when seven years old, are married to 
Khandoba and receive the name of Muilis (lit. flutes). On Somavati, 



JosHi 295 

or the full moon falling on a Monday in Magh (February) or Chaita 
(March), the girl is taken to the god's temple and made to stand 
before the idol. She is dressed in green and has her body smeared 
with turmeric, her forehead with kunkum (red aniline) and 
her head adorned with garlands of flowers. A cloth is held between 
her and the idol, lucky verses are chanted by the temple gurava 
(priest) and turmeric powder (bhandara) is sprinkled over their heads. 
A necklace of nine cowries is tied round the girl's neck and she is 
greeted as Khandoba's wife. The priest receives Rs. 1-4-0 as his 
fee. Although enjoined, by the rules, to live a celibate life, the 
Murlis are tfefitly allowed to associate themselves as prostitutes with 
members of their own or of higher castes. Some of them stay 
at Jejurl, but others, attended by Waghes, wander about making a 
livelihood by begging alms and singing songs. Some of them are 
skilful musicians and are often seen dancing to music jind, at the 
same time, picking up with their foreheads cowrie shells scattered on 
the ground. The Murlis are prohibited from wearing toe-rings, 
anklets or, the nose-ring. Their social disputes are settled by the 
gurava at Jejuri. 

Waghes are allowed to marry the girls of the caste into which 
the illegitimate children of Murlis have formed themselves. They 
are, however, prohibited, on pain of social degradation, from cohabit- 
ing with Murlis. The marriage ceremony corresponds to that in 
use among the Maratha Kunbis. 

In matters of inheritance, they follow their own customs. The 
sons of Waghes and Murlis inherit the property of their parents. 
Failing sons, the daughters take the property. 

Waghes and Murlis are buried in a sitting posture. A Jangam 
officiates at their funeral ceremonies and receives presents on the 
third day after death. On the same day, a funeral feast is provided 
for the members of the sect. 

Socially, they rank below the Maratha Kunbis, from whose hands 
they eat cooked food. They eat the flesh of sheep, goats, deer, 
hare and all kinds of fish and drink spirituous and fermented liquors, 
but do not eat the leavings of any caste. 

Waghes and Murlis pay their devotion exclusively to Khandoba, 



296 JosHi 

whom they worship, with great pomp and circumstance, on the Sai 
holiday, the 6th of the bright half of Margashirsha (December). On 
this occasion, the Murlis are said to be possessed by the god and 
endowed with prophetic power. The Maratha Murlis are identical 
with the Joginis of the Carnatic and the Basavis of the Telaga people. 



XLIII 

Kachhi 

Kachhi — a gardening and cultivating caste, found chiefly in the 
Aurangabad and Hyderabad , cities. The Kachhis, in the Maratha 
country, stale that they came as infantry and cavalry soldiers from 
Bundelkha^d in the times of Alamgir and earlier kings. In 1869 
there were rfearly 100 houses in Begampura in the Aurangabad city. 

Internal Structure — The following two sub-castes of the 
Kachhis are found in these Dominions — Marwari and Bundela • the 
names have reference to the countries from which they originally 
came. Members of these sub-castes neither interdine nor intermarry. 
The exogamous sections of the caste are mostly of the territorial type, 
as shown below ; — 

Bundele Gwaliari 

Katkariya Malkapure 

Mabwale PiltJiwale 

Hadiyewale Gulal 

Nabab Elchya 

the last three being of uncertain origin. The Kachhis forbid a man to 
marry a woman who belongs to the same section as himself. No 
other section is a bar to marriage, provided that he does not marry the 
daughter of his maternal aunt. A man may marry two sisters, but 
in this case he must observe the rule that the younger is not married 
first. In theory, a man may marry as many wives as he can afford 
to maintain : practically, however, the standard of living of the caste 
limits him to two. 

Marriage The Kachhis marry their daughters as infants, 

between the ages of five and eleven. The marriage ceremony is a 
simplified form of that in use among the Rajputs and other castes of 



298 Kachhi 

Upper India ; Bhovari, or the bridal pair walking seven times round 
the muhmlmedh (auspicious post), forms the binding and essential 
portion of the ceremony. It is completed by Sindurdan, in which the 
bridegroom smears vermilion in the parting of the bride's hair. The 
marriage takes place at night and Kanojia Brahmans are called in 
to officiate as priests. A widow may marry again by the ceremony 
known as Dharona, of which the binding portion is the presentation of 
a new sari and bodice cloth to the bride and the putting of bracelets 
on her wrist, but she is not permitted to marry her late husband's 
younger brother. If a widow re-marries, she forfeits all claims to a 
share in her late husband's property and to the custody of any 
children she may have had by him. Divorce is not recognised by 
the caste. 

Religion — In matters of religion, the Kachhis differ little from 
local castes of the same social standing. Their favourite deity is 
Sitala, the goddess presiding over smallpox, who is worshipped at 
weddings and on occasions of sickness. The goddess is represented 
by a stone from the river, smeared with vermilion, and offerings of 
goats, flowers and betel leaves are made to it. Reverence is paid 
by the members of the caste to Balaji, Hanuman, Bhavani and other 
local gods and goddes.ses. Kanojia Brahmans are employed on all 
ceremonial and religious occasions. 

Disposal of the Dead — The Kachhis burn their dead in a 
lying posture, with the head pointing towards the south. The ashes 
and bones are collected on the third day after death and thrown into 
the nearest river, stream or tank. Mourning is observed for three 
days and, on the 4th day, the chief mourner shaves, bathes and is 
free from impurity. Persons dying unmarried, or of smallpox, are 
buried. 

Social Status — The social status of the caste cannot be defined 
precisely. The members of the caste say that they eat l^a'^hi only 
from the hands of Kanojia Brahmans, while sweatmeats are taken 
only from Banias and Marwaris. The Maratha Kunbis do not eat 
food cooked by a Kachhi. The members of the caste eat fish and 
the flesh of goats, sheep, deer, hare and some birds, but abstain from 
that of the domestic fowl and from pork. Some say that they do eat 



Kachhi 299 

domestic fowls. As regards the use of strong drink they have no 
scruples. 

Occupation — The Kachhis are excellent cultivators. They 
are noted for their skill and industry in growing tobacco and other 
special products requiring more careful cultivation than the staple 
crops. In the neighbourhood of large towns they work as market 
gardeners, growing and selling all kinds of vegetables, flowers and 
fruit. Some of them are employed as soldiers in the native army. 



XLIV 

Kahar 

Kahar, Kahar Bhoi, Mahigir — a very small fishing and culti- 
vating caste, some of whose members are engaged as palanquin 
bearers. It is represented as a mixed caste descended from a Brahman 
father and a Nishad mother. The Kahars are supposed to have 
come into these Dominions from Upper India, during* 'the time of 
Aurangzeb. They are mostly found in villages situated on the river 
Godavari, along its course through the Marathwada Districts. 

Very little is known regarding the internal structure of the caste. 
The Kahars have no exogamous sections and marriage with any person 
descended in a direct line from the same parents is prohibited, as long 
as any relationship can be traced. 

Marriage — The Kahars marry their daughters as infants or as 
adults, according to their means, the former practice being deemed the 
more respectable. A man may take a second wife, if the first is barren 
or incurably diseased. The marriage ceremony closely conforms to 
that common among the Rajput and other castes of Northern India. 
Bhovri, or the seven circuits taken by the bride and bridegroom 
round the sacred post, is deemed to be the binding and essential 
portion of the ceremony. Kanojia Brahmans are engaged to officiate 
at their marriages. Widows are allowed to marry again and are 
under no restrictions in their choice of a second husband. Divorce 
is recognised, and divorced wives may marry again by the same form 
as widows. If a woman is convicted of an intrigue with a man 
of a lower caste she is at once excommunicated. 

Religion — The religion of the Kahars presents no feature* of 
special interest. Their favourite deity is Sapta Shringi, of Nasik, 
whose image is placed in the god's room and worshipped on the 
Dassera or the 10th of the waxing moon of Aswin, with offerings of 
flowers, fruit and boiled mutton. They also revere Amba of Tuljapur 



Kahar 301 

and other Jocal Hindu gods. Kanojia Brahmans are employed for 
religious and ceremonial observances. 

Child=birth. — When a child is born, the umbilical cord is cut 
and thrown into a river. The mother is unclean for five days and, 
on the sixth day, the goddess Satwai is worshipped, in the form of 
stones bedaubed with vermilion. Offerings of limes, fruit, boiled rice 
and curds are made to the goddess, and five married girls are feasted 
in her name. Two charcoal figures are painted on the wall and 
adored with offerings of flowers and sandal paste. On the twelfth 
day, the mother bathes and, taking the child in her arms, crosses the 
village boupdary. She picks up a few pebbles of stone from the 
ground, pla^s them under a tree, and worships them by daubing 
them with turmeric paste and offering flowers, boiled rice and 
molasses. After the goddess Satwai has been thus appeased, she 
returns home and is free to resume her household work. 

Disposal of the Dead — The dead are burned in a lying 
postuie, with the head pointing towards the south. Bodies of persons 
who are not man-ied are buried. On the third day, the ashes and 
bones are' collected and thrown into a river. Kahars perform Sradha 
for the benefit of departed ancestors in general, either on the Diwali 
(in October) or the Shivaratri festival (in February). 

Social Status The social status of the caste is superior to 

that of the Bhois and inferior to that of the Maratha Kunbis, from whose 
hands they eat ^ac/ir, or uncooked food. A few of the Kahars in the 
Hyderabad City say that they eat kflchi only ftrom the hands of 
Kanojia Brahmans and pakki (cooked) from the Bania castes, while 
they accept water from the hands of the Maratha Bhois. In respect 
of diet they eat fish, mutton, venison and the flesh of hare, pigeons and 
quail, but abstain from fowl and pork. They drink spirituous and 
fermented liquors. 

The Kahars have a strong and well organised Pancha^at, on 
which every head of a family is bound to serve when summoned. 
Small breaches of social rule are condoned by the nominal punish- 
ment of giving pan-supari, or betel leaves and areca nuts, and graver 
faults, by a caste feast. The decisions of the caste council are enforced 
under pain of expulsion. The council is presided over by a headman. 



302 Kahar 

whose office is hereditary and who is shown special honour at all 
marriages and caste feasts. 

Occupation. — Palanquin bearing is the chief occupation of the 
caste ; but as palanquin travelling is no longer the prevailing custom 
in the country, the members of the caste have taken to cultivation 
and fishing. Some have enlisted in the army. 



XLV 
Kalal 

Kalal — a liquor-selling and distilling caste, found in all parts of 
the Dominions. The Kalals say that they were originally Vaishyas 
and were degraded on account of their having adopted the profession 
of liquor-sellers and distillers. The caste is divided into two sub- 
castes : Lad Kalal and Pardeshi Kalal. 

Lad K'aidl. — The Lad Kalals are chiefly found in the Gulbargah 
district. They probably came from the southern part of Gujarath, 
which bore the name of Lat (Lad) in ancient times. They have three 
sub-divisions : — Surya Lad, Chhatri Lad and Kodi Lad, the members 
of which neither interdine nor intermarry. The Surya Lads are so 
called because their men and women, as they allege, do not dme 
until they have flsst offered puja to Surya, or the sun. The Chhatri 
Lads are 'probably a degraded offshoot of the Chhatri (Khatri) caste, 
while the origin of the name Kodi Lad is uncertain. It may be a 
variant of 'kodu', a kind of millet (Paspalum scrohtcuhtum), which is 
said to have the property of intoxicating when made into bread. The 
section names of the Lad Kalals are of a peculiar type, as noticed 
below : — 

Tonpe. Katwate. 

Sabane (soap). Ganagane. 

Kol. Hagal Diwate. 

Khadke (rock). Sadanande (very merry). 

Vanjare. Pinjare. 

Kamade. Sandve. 

Tapase. Dingre (hill). 

Palangatode. Paske. 

Jamalpure. Ganagane. 

Marriage between persons belonging to the same section is 
forbidden. Two sisters may be married to the same man, provided 



304 Kalal 

the younger is married first. A second wife may b^ taken if 
the first is barren, or suffers from an incurable disease. Infant mar- 
riage is practised by the caste. A girl attaining puberty before 
marriage is excommunicated. Girls are not offered to temples or 
trees. The marriage ceremony is of the orthodox type and resembles 
that in use among the other castes of the Karnatic. A widow is 
allowed to marry again and is under no restriction as regards her choice 
of a second husband. Divorce is recognised and divorced wives may 
marry again by the same rite as widows. The Kalals are orthodox 
Hindus, worshipping Mahadeo every Monday. The goddess 
Bhavani of Tuljapur is worshipped every Friday, with offerings of 
flowers, betel leaves and sweatmeats. The dead are 'ji'ther burned 
in a lying posture, or buried in a sitting posture, according to the 
means of the family of the deceased. In the case of cremation, the ashes 
are collected on the third day after death and thrown into a river 
or stream. Brahmans are employed on religious and ceremonial 
occasions. The social status of the caste is inferior to that of the 
Maratha Kunbis and superior to that of the Bhoi, Nhavi and Dhobi. 
The members of the caste eat fowl and fish and the flesh of "deer, hare 
and sheep, and drink spirituous and fermented liquors. Distilling and 
selling liquor is the original occupation of the caste, but many of its 
members make their living by shop-keeping and money-lending. Some 
have taken to agriculture, in the capacity of occupancy raiats, while 
a few are landless day-labourers. 

Pardeshi Kaldl. — The Pardeshi Kalals are supposed to have 
come from Northern India, although little is known regarding the date 
of their immigration. They have six sub-castes : — 

Sinhor. Chansakha. 

Purbhayya. Letarayya. 

Gurer. Jaiswar. 

among whom there is neither interdining nor intermarriage. Each 
of these is further broken up into a number of sections, such as. Modi, 
Pirwatiya, Ghodchadha, Chaitaha Tatari, and so on. In point of 
marriage, the Pardeshi Kalals exclude the section of both father and 
mother or, in other words, forbid a man to marry a woman who be- 



Kalal 305 

longs to the same section as he himself or his mother. This system is 
supplemented by prohibited degrees, calculated to six generations on 
the male side. All Pardeshi Kalais who can afford to do so, marry 
their daughters as infants, but the daughters of poor families frequently 
remain unmarried up to the age of eighteen or nineteen. A man may 
marry two sisters, and the number of wives he may have is subject to 
no limit, except his ability to maintain them. The marriage ceremony 
does not appear to differ materially from the standard type common 
among the other castes of Upper India of the same social standing. 
The marriage shed (mandap) consists of five posts, one at each corner 
and one in the ccmtre, and to the latter are tied branches of the mango 
and umber trees, while at its foot is placed an earthen jar of water, 
topped with a burning lamp, and with mango leaves inside. Seven 
circuits taken by the bridal pair round this sacred post are deemed 
to be the binding and essential portion of the ceremony. A widow 
is allowed to marry again and divorce is recognised. The religion 
of the Pardeshi Kalab presents no features of special interest. Kanojia 
Brahmans are; employed for religious and ceremonial purposes. The 
dead are usually burned, but bodies of persons dying unmarried arc 
buried. No precise definition can be given regarding the social 
position of the caste. The members of the caste say that they eat 
kachi only from the Kanojia Brahmans, while they take water from 
the hands of the Bhois. Only the Dhobis, Bhois, and lowest unclean 
castes will eat food cooked by a Pardeshi Kalal. A Pardeshi Kalal 
eats fish and the flesh of deer, hare, goats and sheep, but abstains from 
fowl and pork. He drinks both fermented and spirituous liquors. 
The bulk of the caste follow their traditional occupation of distilling 
and selling liquors. Some have taken to other pursuits, such as shop- 
keeping, money-lending and agriculture. 



XLVI 

Kapu 

Kapu, Kunbi, Reddi — the chief land-holding and cultivating 
caste of Telingana, whose physical characteristics, although difficult 
of accurate description, are decidedly of a Dravidian type. The 
name "Kapu" means "guardian", which is interpreted in the sense of 
'food donor', inasmuch as members of this caste c*<jftivate land and 
grow corn, thus contributing to the maintenance of animal life. They 
rear milch cattle and bullocks, which are employed in agricultural 
operations. 

Origin, — The Kapus trace their descent to one Adi Reddi, 
from whose seven sons the whole Kapu raca, is said to have sprung. 
Beyond this vague story they have no traditions which will throw 
light upon their origin. 

Internal Structure — They are divided into the following sub- 
castes : — 

(1) Panch Reddi, from "Reddi", "king or master", so called 
as they include five endogamous groups, viz : — 

(i) Motati. 

(ii) Gudati or Godadi. 

(iii) Paknati. 

(iv) Ghittapu. 

(v) Gone. 

(2) Yaya, (3) Kamma, (4) Patti, (5) Padkanti, (6) Sakhamari, 
(7) Vakligar, (8) Reddi, (9) Penta, (10) Velma. the members 
of which interdine, but do not intermarry. A question arises 
whether these sub-castes are sprung from a common stock, or are 
heterogeneous elements, brought together under one tribal designation, 
"Kapu", by reason of the similarity of occupation. It seems that 
the first five sub-divisions, grouped under the title ' Panch Reddi , 



Kapu 307 

are indigenous to these Dominions and are ihe. offshoots of a once 
compact tribe. They are found in their greatest strength in the 
central districts of the Telingana and are gradually displaced, on 
the western side by the Maratha Kunbis, and on the eastern and 
southern, parts (adjoining those of the Madras Presidency) by the 
Kammas. The Kamma and Patti sub-castes possess the same set 
of exogamous sects and the same customs and usages as the Panch 
Reddis and, may on this* account, be regarded as castes ethnologically 
akin to them. The Velmas and Pentas, on the other hand, differ 
materially, in features and habits, from the Panch Reddis and seem 
to bear no afiljity to them. Though classed as Kapus, they will, for 
this reason, be treated under separate articles. The origin of all the 
sub-castes is obscure. 

(1) Motaii Kapus. — The name Motati is derived from the 
word ' mota ' meaning a 'rash worker.' In the social scale, they take 
the highest rank amongst t^e Kapus and are proud of their blood, since, 
as they aver. Raja Pratap Rudra and his descendants belonged to 
their caste.. A hypergsimous division, called the Motati Chowdhari, 
has lately been develoi>ed, consisting of jamedars, landlords and 
other rich grandees, who may either be the descendants of the ruling 
princes or their nobles, or of those who rose to eminence and renown 
by acquiring wealth and military fame. The Motati Chowdharis 
receive the daughters of the Motati Kapus in marriage, but do not 
give their own daughters in return. The reason is obvious ; for the 
Chowdharis, observing seclusion among their women, are reluctant 
to marry their girls to Motati Kapus, whose women appear 
unveiled in public and are employed on out-door labour. A Motati 
girl, before being admitted into a Chowdhari family, is ceremonially 
purified by being branded with the emblems of Tapta Madras, repre- 
sented by the conch shell (sankha) and the dice (chakra) of Vishnu, and 
she is not afterwards allowed to return to her parents. To secure a 
Motati Chowdhari bridegroom, entails upon a Motati Kapu the pay- 
ment of a high bridegroom price, which the father gladly pays, anxious 
as he is to see his daughter lodged in a respectable family. The 
members of the Motati Chowdhari have aped, in their desire to 
elevate themselves, all the supposed usages of Brahmans. This 



308 Kapu 

hypergamous group is tending to become endogamous, tor there are 
indications that, in course of time, the Chowdharis will entirely cease 
to contract matrimonial alliances with the lower classes. 

(2) Godadi Kapus. — Also called ' Gurudwar,' profess to derive 
their name from Godadwan, most probably identical with Gondawana, 
where they are very numerous. Hypergamy prevails, forming three 
groups, Chowdhari, Pate! and ordinary Kapus. They are believed 
to rank lower than the Motatis. The God^li females pass the ends 
of their upper garments over their right shoulders, 

(3) Gone Kapus. — Take their name from gunny bags {goni 
meaning gunny bags) with which the pack bullocks are.saddled. It is 
said that members of this sub-caste used to make bags and thereby 
came to be differentiated from the other Kapus. Regarding the origin 
of the name "Gone" the following story is related. Once upon a 
time, the earth was deluged with rain and, while all the others were 
drenched, the members of this sub-caste found cover under gunny 
bags and were saved. They were, therefore, nicknamed "Gone", by 
which their descendants are still distinguished from the other Kapus. 
A Gone will never mount a bullock having a goni (bag) on its back. 
They do not allow their widows to re-marry and are hence ranked 
above the Godadis, whose widows re-marry. 

(4) Chittapu Kapus.— Chittepod, or Kule Kadgi, resemble in 
most of their customs, and to a certain extent in features, the Maratha 
Kunbis, between whom and the Telingana cultivating caste they seem 
to form a link. The origin of the name is obscure. Members of 
this sub-caste abstain from flesh and drink. 

(5) Kamma Kapus. — The members of this sub-caste are chiefly 
found in the eastern talukas of the Warangal district, where they are 
supposed to have come from the Madras Presidency, especially from 
the adjoining districts of Kistna and Godavari. They have two 
endogamous divisions : — 

(i) Illo Bellama Kamma, who veil their women and hold there- 
fore a superior position, and 
(ii) Gampa Kamma, whose women appear unveiled in public. 

(6) Patti Kapus. — Very little is known regarding this caste, 
except that they have got the same exogamous divisions as the Kapus, 



Kapu 



309 



and that they practise both infant and adult marriages and do not 
recognise widow marriage. 

(7) Vakligar or Lmga^at Kapus. — Those of the Kapus 
who embraced Lingayitism come under this category. The members 
of this sub-caste acknowledge Jangams as their gums, do not call in 
Brahmans either for religious or ceremonial purposes and, like other 
proselytes, are very punctilious in their sectarian observances. This 
class is confined to the- Karnatic Districts where Lingayitism is in 
full force. Among the Padkante Kapus it is customary for a bride- 
groom to tie a cotton thread, stained with turmeric, around the bride's 
neck at the wpdding, instead of a string of black beads, as is done in 
other sub-castes. The women of this sub-caste do not wear bodices. 
The exogamous sections into which the sub-castes are divided 
are very numerous. Some of them deserve special notice. 

(Ll;a^a, calf). 

(Yelavedla, white ox). 

(Karedla, black ox). 

(Sugar-cane). 

(Zizpp/jus jujuba). 

(Turmeric). 

(Salt water). 

(Cardamom). 

{Guralu, horse). 

(Thoka, tail). 

(Chinta, tamarined). 

(Name of a place) 
Do. 
Do. 
Do. 
Do. 

It should be observed that the section names are of two different 
types, the one totemistic and the other territorial. The survival of 
the primitive totemism among the Kapus favours the view that they 
are derived from a Dravidian stock. There is, however, no evidence 
whatever to show that the totems are taboo to the members of the 
sections or, in other words, that the members of those sections regard 



1. 


Lyagawanola 


2. 


Yelavedlawandlu 


3. 


Karedlawandlu. 


4. 


Charkuneelu 


5. 


Renakulla 


6. 


Paspulollu 


7. 


Coppunilollu 


8. 


\'elakula 


9. 


Guralollu 


10. 


Thokalollu 


11. 


Chintalollu 


12. 


Mudnoorollu 


13. 


Alampalollu. 


14. 


Amlapuramollu 


15. 


Beloorolu 


16. 


Baradollu 



310 Kapu 

with veneration the animals or plants whose names they Dear. This 
essential omission may be easily accounted for by the fact that, being 
long subjected to Brahmanical influences, the Kapus have naturally 
dropped all usages antagonistic to Brahmanical theories. 

The rule of exogamy observed by the caste is that a man 
cannot marry outside his sub-caste nor inside his section. The section 
name goes by the male side. This simple rule is supplemented by 
a formula which enjoins that a man cannot hiarry his aunt, his first 
cousins, except his maternal uncle's daughter, or his niece. A man 
may marry his wife's younger sister during the former's life time, but 
not her elder sister. Adoptive brotherhood is practised, .a boy belong- 
ing to the same section as his adopter being given the preference. 
No outsider is admitted into the caste. 

Marriage — Infant marriage is the rule, but adult marriage pre- 
vails among the higher classes (chowdharis) owing to the paucity of 
husbands due to the enormous increase of the bridegroom price. No 
prominence is given to the latter usage and social stigma attaches to the 
parents of the girl if she attains puberty before marriage, the fact 
of her being mature before marriage being concealed as 
much as possible. No courtship prevails and the marriage is settled 
by the parents or guardians of the parties concerned. The higher classes 
taking maidens in marriage from the lower ones, do not have them 
actually wedded to the boys, but a sword is sent from the boy's house 
to the girl's and there the girl is married formally, according to rites 
and ceremonies, to the weapon and is then accepted with the sword 
in the higher family, where she enjoys all the privileges of a married 
lady. Sexual indiscretions before marriage admit of no atonement 
and the girl loses her caste. Polygamy is permitted, there being no 
definite limit as to the number of wives a man may have. Connubial 
relations may commence even before the girl attains sexual maturity. 

Among the Kapus, the initiative towards the settlement of 
marriage is taken by the parents or guardians of the bridegroom, 
who depute a man of the Bhatmurti (Bhatraj) caste to select a 
suitable match, and to carry on the preliminary negotiations. After 
the horoscopes of both the bride and bridegroom have been found 
to agree, and after the bridegroom price, which is generally Rs. 116, 



Kapu 31 1 

but which varies with the pecuniary status of the parents of the 
bride, has been settled, an auspicious day for the marriage is fixed by 
consulting a Brahman skilled in such matters. The marriage cere- 
monies comprise the following stages : — 

(a) Chsupvoidam — The verbal gift and acceptance of the 
bride. The bridegroom's party proceeds to the bride's house. At an 
auspicious time fixed for the ceremony, the bride is brought, by her 
maternal uncle, from the inner part of the house and seated on a 
wooden stool placed in the court-yard. In the presence of the 
relatives and friends assembled for the occasion, the bride is verbally 
given by her father, and verbally accepted by the bridegroom's 
father, for his son. The bride is then adorned with ifower wreaths, 
and the ceremony ends with the distribution of pan supari (betel 
leaves and areca nuts)" to the assembled people. 

(b) Nischitartha — confirmation of the match — On this occasion 
a new sari, five cocoanuts, five betel leaves, five bodices (cholis) and 
two lbs. of rice are presented to the bride by her mother-in-law. 

(c) Wara Nkchaya — 

(i) 7Tie worship of Pinnamma (the goddess of fortune). 

The goddess, who is not represented by any image, is worshipped 
in every household a month or a fortnight previous to the celebration 
of marriage. At night, a spot of ground is plastered clean with 
cow-dung and decorated with designs of kpnkwn (aniline powder) 
traced in various patterns. A twig of the apta tree {Bauhinia 
racemosa), representing the deity, is installed on the ground with a 
cradle of flowers hanging over it, and before it are placed a cocoanut, 
a piece of bodice cloth, a piece of cocoanut kernel and two betel 
leaves with an areca nut. The deity is worshipped with offermgs 
of flowers and rice coloured with turmeric, after which a sheep is 
slaughtered before it. The head of the animal is buried in the 
ground and its body furnishes a feast to all the household members. 

(ii) The worship of Pochamma (the smallpox deity) and Nagula 
(a serpent)— These animistic deities are appeased outside the village 
with offerings of goats, flowers and sweetmeats. Marriage booths are 
erected at the houses of both the parties. Usually, the marriage takes 
place at the house of the bride, but if the parents of the bride are too 



312 Kapu 

poor to undergo the marriage expenses it is performed at fthe house of 
the bridegroom. 

(d) Prathanam — This important ceremony is performed at the 
girl's house. The bridegroom's parents and relatives go, with the 
bridal ornaments, the praihan ring and other articles, such as cocoa- 
nuts, betel leaves, areca nuts, etc., to the girl's house. At the 
time appointed for the performance of the ceremony the girl is 
bathed. Wearing a new sari and putting on flower garlands, she is 
seated on a wooden stool, with a heap of rice in front of her. On 
this heap are placed the ornaments and the praihan ring, which are 
worshipped by the girl along with the deity Ganesh. The prathan 
ring is then circulated in a cocoanut shell among the relatives and, 
after being touched and blessed by them, is put on the right hand 
little finger of the bride. This ring is afterwards connected, by a 
yellow thread, with the bangles worn by the girl on her wrist. The 
ornaments are put on her person and she is led in procession to the 
bridegroom's house. 

(e) Yadulu Kodlu — A ceremonial greeting 'of the members of 
both the parties. 

(f) Kotanum — In which mortars and grind-stones are worshipped 
and rice and turmeric are pounded by five married women. 

{§) Arweni or Airani Kundalu — A few days previous to the 
wedding, some women of the bride's house go, under a canopy, to the 
house of a potter, who has already been instructed to keep from nine to 
twenty-one earthen pots ready. Two of these pots are bigger than 
the others, are painted outside with ornamental designs and are 
called 'Airani Kundalu'. Rice, pulse and cakes are offered to the 
pots, the offerings being taken by the potter. The pots are then brought 
to the marriage booth and placed before the family gods. Lighted 
lamps are kept burning near them day and night as long as the 
ceremony continues. Every morning and evening, two married 
women of the bride's or bridegroom's house, as the case may be, take 
the smaller pots with them and go to a well, attended by music and 
under a canopy. On their arrival, they worship the well, fill the pots 
with water and return home. 

(h) Mailapolu — The bride and bridegroom are seated side by 



Kapu 313 

side in a square formed of rice and having at each of its corners an 
earthen pot filled with water. A female barber smears the pair with 
a paste of turmeric and oil and a male barber pares the nails of their 
fingers and toes. Five married women throw rice on their heads. 
The couple then receive a bath and, dressed in white, are taken into 
the house, where they take their seats before the family gods and the 
consecrated pots. The deities Ganesh, Gowri, and Airani Kundalu 
are worshipped and hashingams (paper and flower coronets) are tied 
on their foreheads. 

(r) Lagnam — The bride and bridegroom dressed in wedding 
clothes of a saffron colour are conducted to the marriage booth. On a 
mat of shendi (wild date palm) are placed two wooden seats, on which 
the couple are made to stand facing each other, a screen being held 
between them. The Brahman priest recites mantras, or sacred texts, 
and the assembled guests throw rice over the heads of the couple. 

(j) Padghatian — The bridegroom places his right foot upon a 
stool placed beneath the screen and the bride touches it three times 
with her left fobt. Then, the bride, in her turn, puts her right foot 
upon the stool which is trodden upon by the bridegroom with his 
left foot three times. 

(y ]ira Gudam — The bride and bridegroom throw a mixture of 
jira (cumin seeds) and giida (jaggery) three times alternately 
over each other's head. The screen is then removed. 

(i) Kanyadan — The parents of the bride wash the feet of the 
bridegroom and give him a mixture of honey, curds and ghi to drink 
{madhupark). Then follows the formal gift of the bride by her 
father and the formal acceptance of her by the bridegroom. The 
bride's father is made to repeat the words — "I give her to you as a 
gift", to which the bridegroom replies — "I accept her. 

(m) Puste Metallu — In a shallow cup are placed two ornaments, 
viz., pusie (mangahutra, a string of small black glass beads with a 
gold disc) and metallu, (silver toe rings) and, after they have been 
worshipped by the Brahman priest and passed round to be blessed by 
those present, the bridegroom ties the puste round the bride's neck and 
puts the metallu on her toes. 

(n) Tr/afca/u6rum— Thread bracelets (kankanam), dipped in 



314 Kapu 

turmeric water, are worshipped by the wedded pair and tied", together 
with pieces of turmeric, on their wrists by the priest. Rice is thrown 
over their heads by all the people present ; the bride and bridegroom 
also throwing rice over each other's heads. 

(o) Brahmamodi — The ends of the garments of the married 
couple are tied together in a knot with a piece of turmeric, a piece of 
cocoanut kernel and a pice. Lucky lights, placed in a shallow plate, 
are then waved round their faces by married fepnales. 

(p) Arundhati Darshan — The goddess Arundhati, wife of the 
sage Vashistha, and represented by the pole star, is shown to the 
wedded pair as a pattern of constancy and fidelity. Two ornaments are 
put in an earthen vessel, which is conjointly taken by the couple out- 
side the house. The bashingams are then removed from their fore- 
heads and milk and curds are given them to drink. Thereupon, the 
bride prepares gruel and the bridegroom turns up the earth in furrows 
in which he sows five kinds of seed grains. While thus engaged, his 
child wife brings him the gruel to drink. 

(q) Nagveli — A square is marked out on the ground, with a 
water pot at each of its comers, the pots being encircled five times with 
a raw cotton thread. Inside this are arranged the Arweni Kundalu 
vessels, the small earthen vessels (palamuntal) and six plates made of 
leaves holding lighted lamps. The bridegroom, taking a dagger and 
the share of a plough in his hand, goes five times round the polu 
accompanying the bride, her parents, five married women and the priest. 

Alrwani Kundalu and the palamuntal vessels are thereupon wor- 
!hipp»ed and the Brahmamudi knot and kfcnkanams are untied. 

(r) Panpu — In which the young pair are made to enact a drama 
of their future life. A wooden doll is placed in a cradle of cloth 
and is rocked by the couple seated on a cot. They are then made 
to converse on various domestic matters. The bridegroom asks the 
bride to take charge of the mimic child so that he may go out, but 
the bride returns the charge, pleading that she has to fetch water. 
A good deal of fun and merriment ensue on the occasion. 

(s) Vappagintha — The bride's parents entrust their daughter to 
the care of the bridegroom and his parents, requesting them to treat 
her kindly. 



Kapu 315 

(t) Vtdibhujam — The bride is presented with cocoanut, dates, 
a choli and turmeric coloured rice which she takes in the front fold 
of her sari (wadi). 

A marriage feast completes the ceremony. 

The marriage rites of the Reddi Kapus differ in some particulars 
from those of the Panch Reddis and deserve special mention. The 
Reddi bride, previous to the wedding day, is conducted, in pro- 
cession, to the bridegroom's house, where a marriage pandal of twelve 
posts is erected. One of the posts consists of a salai branch 
{BosWellia thmijera) and represents the Deva Devak- The 
branch, before being cut off, is girt round v/ith cotton thread and wor- 
shipped by a man having children. At an auspicious hour appointed 
for the wedding, the bridal pair are made to stand facing each other 
and an antarpat is held between them. A wheaten cake, two 
inches thick, is placed on a wooden stool just beneath the screen, 
the girl places her foot upon it, and the boy treads upon her foot with 
his own. The screen is removed and the cake is given to the dhobi. 
What follows, corresponds to the ceremony among other Kapus. 
Next day the bridal pair are taken to the temple of the village Maruti 
and have their mouths washed by each other. At night the bridal 
procession (barat) conducts the wedded couple all about the village and, 
as it approaches the pandal, betel leaves and food are waved round 
their faces and given to the dhobi. The bride and the bridegroom 
are, thereupon, carried round the sacred salai (BosWellia thurijera) 
post and each of the relatives present carries them on the hip and jumps 
and dances about the place. At the Panpu ceremony, the bridal pair, 
while going into their house with the puppet daughter, are interrupted 
at the door by the bridegroom's sister, who allows them to enter only 
after exacting a promise from her brother that her son shall receive his 
daughter in maniage. 

Divorce is permitted among the Reddi Kapus and the offending 
woman is required, in the presence of the caste Panchayat, to break 
a piece of straw in two as a symbol of separation. Among the Paknati 
Kapus, before maniage, the goddess Pidda Darsu is worshipped in the 
form of a twig of the mi plant (Calotropis gigantea), a day's fast 
being observed in her name. 



316 Kapu 

Widow=Marriage — All Kapus, excepting the Motafi Gone and 
Paknati, allow a widow to marry again, the widow not being expected 
to marry her late husband's younger brother. The ceremony in use 
at the marriage of a widow, is of a simple character. On a lucky 
evening, the bridegroom goes to the house of his wife-elect and 
presents her with a sari and a choli. After she has put on the gar- 
ments he ties a pusti round her neck. Only widows attend the cere- 
mony. Early next morning, the couple go to the village Maruti's 
temple and stay there till dusk, when they return home. 

Divorce. — Divorce is permitted with the sanction of the 
Pancha'sat on the ground of the wife's unchastity, or if the couple 
cannot get on together. It is effected by driving the woman out of 
the house with salt and rice tied in the end of her cloth. Divorced 
women are allowed to re-marry by the same rite as widows. An 
innocent woman, if divorced, claims alimony from her husband. 

Inheritance — On the death of the father the estate is divided 
equally among his sons, subject to the usage of chudawand, which is 
found to exist in all the Telugu castes of the Dominions. According 
to this usage "the sons, however few, of one wife, take a share equal 
to that of the sons, however many, of another. In applying this rule 
no distinction is drawn between the status of the wives, and the sons 
of a wife manied as a widow get the same share as the sons of a 
woman who was married as a virgin by the regular ceremony. 
Mothers claim maintenance and clothes and sisters only wedding 
expenses. In other matters the Kapus follow the standard Hindu 
law of inheritance. 

Religion — In matters of religion the Kapus are divided between 
Namdharis ' and ' Vibhutidharis ' ; those whose foreheads are 
marked with nam streaks of sandalwood paste running parallel 
from the root of the nose to the hair, and those who smear vihhuli 
(sacred ashes) on their foreheads. The Namdharis are Vaishnawas 
of the Ramanuj sect and acknowledge Shri Vaishnawa Brahmans as 
their gurus (spiritual guiders) with "Ashta-Kshari Mantra" (octo- 
syllabic mystic formula), the constant repeation of which is supposed 
to lead to salvation and final beatitude. The Vibhutidharis, as 
Shaiwaits, are under the influence of the Aradhi Brahmans, whose 



Kapu 317 

"mantra" for the initiation of their disciples consists of five syllables. 
The Namdharis burn their dead and the Vibhutidharis bury them, a 
Satani Ayyawar officiating at the funerals of the former and a Jangam 
at those of the latter. 

The Kapus worship all the Hindu gods and celebrate the Hindu 
festivals. Satya Narayan is the favourite deity, which is revered with 
the help of Brahmans. High class women honour the tuisi plant 
{Ocimum sanctum) daijy. Besides this, the women observe several 
' Britas ' such as Kedari Gauramma, Badkamma, Bodhamma, 
Gauramma, the most important of them being performed on any day 
between the 1st and the 15th of the lunar half of Kartik. For 
religious and ceremonial purposes they employ Brahmans, who are 
received on terms of equality by the other members of the sacred 
order. 

Under this veneer of Hinduism, vestiges of primitive animism 
survive in the religion of the Kapus and the masses pay more reverence 
to the animistic deities than to the great gods of the pantheon. 
Pochamma, the goddess of smallpox, is worshipped under her various 
forms, viz., Potiling (the village guardian deity), Manganma, 
Adeli Mhaisamma, Maha Laxmi, Urda Mhaisamma, and Moramma. 
the first two being represented by wooden idols set up outside the 
village, and the rest by pieces of stone. Offerings of goats and 
sweetmeat are made to tlie goddess on Friday in the month of Asadh 
(July-April), or if a member of the family has an attack of smallpox. 
A Bhoi or a Dhobi officiates as priest on the occasion and divides 
the offerings between himself and the worshipper. Yellamma is 
appecised on Tuesday with offerings of fowls and Laxamma and 
Iddamma on Wednesday with offerings of sweets. Bala Devi 
or Balamma, a malignant deity, the neglect of whose worship brings 
on calamity, is propitiated on the 15th (full moon day) of Chait 
(February-March) and the 9th of the lunar half of Aswin (September- 
October) in every household. A small earthen pot, painted externally 
with stripes of chunam (burnt lime) and covered with a lighted lamp, 
represents the deity. On the ground, smeared clean with cow-dung 
and beautified with lines of kunknm powder, is spread some jawari 
(Indian millet), and over this is deposited the vessel representing the 



318 Kapu 

goddess. Festoons of mango leaves (Mangijera mdica) afe hung over 
the pot from the roof. A Madiga woman is called in to officiate as 
priest to the deity, who is worshipped with offerings of flowers and 
cooked food, which must contain at least one green vegetable. Incense 
is then burnt and a torch light is waved round the goddess. The cere- 
mony ends after a goat has been sacrificed in the name of the goddess, 
and the Madigani, on receiving her share of the offerings and her 
fees, is dismissed. Sheep and goats are slaughtered before Maisamma, 
another deity of an extremely maleficent nature. On the 15th day 
of the month of Waishakha (April-May) homage is done to the imple- 
ments of husbandry, when all the servants working on the farm are 
invited. Milk, sugar, rice and balls of wheat flour are offered to the 
implements and the balls of wheaten flour are placed before the 
servants. Those that are willing to serve on the farm during the 
next year take the balls and eat them. Others hesitate and thus 
express their unwillingness to remain in service. If a servant who 
has eaten the balls proves faithless, he is supposed to meet with 
endless misfortunes. On the 10th of Aswin the deceased, first wife 
is appeased by the second wife, in the form of a small earthen pot 
called "'Pyarantal Patwa" with offerings of sweetmeat and clothes. 

Child-Birth — A woman in child-birth is unclean for twenty- 
one days. On the third day, to protect the new-born child from 
evil influences, the Purod ceremony is performed, at which the mother 
daubs five pebbles with turmeric and offers boiled rice, toddy and 
oil-cakes to them. Among the Reddy Kapus cooked rice, shaped like 
a cone topped with a lighted lamp, is given to a Dhobi. On (he 
twenty-first day the mother marks, with red lead, five spots on the 
rim of a well, makes five turns round it, draws five pots of water 
and is regarded as purified. 

Funerals., — The Kapus bum their adult dead. Infants and 
unmarried persons are buried. Mourning is observed 10 days for 
manied adults and 3 days for infants, the unmarried, the son of a 
father-in-law, mother-in-law, maternal uncle, paternal aunt and 
daughter. During mourning they are unclean and abstain from eating 
flesh, oil, sweets, onions and turmeric. Persons dying of smallpox or 
cholera are buried. 



Kapu 319 

On i> person dying, the body is washed and the forehead marked 
with sandal paste. The corpse, adorned with garlands of flowers, 
is placed on the bier and borne to the cremation ground in a procession 
formed of men and women. It is there laid on the pyre with the head 
towards the south. The principal mourner pours, in the mouth of 
the corpse, water in which an Ayyawar's feet have been washed. He 
then walks three times round the pyre and lights it with a burning 
brand. When the pyre is well ablaze, the persons comp>osing the 
funeral party all go to a river or well, where they bathe and return 
home. During the next four days, the chief mourner visits the burn- 
ing ground with the Ayyawar and burns incense and offers food in 
the name of deputed ancestors. On the 5th day a sheep is 
sacrificed on the spot where the person has died and is then cooked. 
All the relations of the deceased then go to the burning ground, 
taking the cooked meat, cakes and sweetmeat with them. 



XLVII 

Kasar 

Kasar — the bangle selling and brazier caste of the Maratha Dis- 
triclB, supposed to have been originally recruited from among the 
middle classes of society. They have no endogamous divisions, while 
their exogamous sections are mostly of the Maratha type. A man 
may not marry a woman belonging to his own section. No other 
section is a bar to marriage. He may marry two sisters, provided that 
the elder is married first, but two brothers cannot marry two sisters. 
All Kasars marry their daughters as infants between the ages of five 
and twelve and social stigma attaches to the parents of a girl who 
is not provided with a husband before she has attained the age of 
puberty. The marriage ceremony conforms to that in use among 
the Maratha Kunbis, Antarpat being deemed to be the binding 
and essential portion of it. Polygamy is permitted to the extent that 
a man may take a second wife if his first wife is barren. A widow 
is allowed to marry again by the pat form, similar to that in vogue 
among the Maratha Kunbis. This must take place on a night of the 
waning moon. Only widows must attend the ceremony, married 
woman deeming it unlucky to be present. Divorce is recognised and 
divorced wives are allowed to marry again by the same form as 
widows. By religion, most of the Kasars are Vaishnavas, but they 
also worship Khandoba and Bhavani of Tuljapur. Their tutelary 
goddess is said to be Kali. Brahmans are employed on ceremonial 
and religious occasions. They burn their dead, throw the ashes and 
bones into a holy river and perform Sradha in the orthodox fashion. 
Their social rank is a little below that of the Marathcis. The bulk 
of the caste are engaged in their characteristic occupation. They 
purchase bangles from Kacharis or in the bazaars and put them on 
the wrists of women of all classes, among whom they are in great 
request. Their women and children help them in their work. The 



Kasar 321 

Kasars also, manufacture utensils of brass and copper and sell them in 
retail or wholesale. A few have teiken to agriculture of late years. 

The following statement shows the number and distribution of 
the Kasars in 1911. 

The figures include the number of Bogars. 



Hyderabad City 
Atrafi Balda ... 
Warangal 
Karimnagar 
Adilabad 

Medak 

Nizamabad 

Mahbubnagar 

Nalgunda 

Aurangabad . . . 

Bhir 

Nander ... " ... 

Parbhani 

Gulbarga 

Usmanabad 

Raichur 

Bidar 



Males. 


Females. 


74 


43 


350 


377 


40 


36 


863 


727 


771 


466 


165 


151 


80 


93 


127 


125 


217 


173 


1,341 


1,350 


1,009 


857 


329 


313 


902 


899 


269 


208 


421 


531 


593 


531 


138 


119 



XL VIII 
Kayasth 



Kayasth, Kaeth — an influential and highly respected caste, which 
counts among its members some of the chieif landholders and nobles 
of Hyderabad. 

Origin & Internal Structure — The Kayaslhs claim to be 
Kshatriyas and trace their parentage to Chitragupta, the scribe of 
Yama, who was produced from the inner consciousness of Brahma. 
Chitragupta had two wives, Nandini and Saubhavati ; the former bore 
him four sons — Gangadhar, Bhanuprakash, Ramdayal, and Dharma- 
dhwaj and the latter, eight sons — Shamsundar, Sarangdhar, Dharma- 
datha, Somasta, Damodar, Dindayal, Sadanand, and Raghavrao. 
Chitragupta and his sons were invested by Brahma with the sacred 
thread and enrolled among the twice-born. Their occupation was 
ordained to be the management of the business affairs and the keeping 
of the accounts of the other castes. For this purpose, the sons were 
sent to different localities and became, subsequently, the founders 
of the twelve sub-castes of the Kayasths, each of which was called 
after the country its founder occupied. 

The following table will illustrate this point : — 



No. 


Founder. 


Country 


Subcaste 


Gofra. 


Patron 






occupied. 


originated. 




deity. 


1. 


Gangadhar. 


Mathura. 


Mathur. 


Kasyapa. 


Durga. 


2. 


Bhanuprakash. 


Bhatner^ 


Bhatnagar 


Bhatta. 


Jayantl. 


3. 


Ramdayal. 


Kabul (Lucknow)Saksena. 


Hansa. 


Sakambari. 


4. 


Dharmadhwaj. 


Sri Nagar. 


Sri Bastab. 


Sriharsha. 


Laxmi. 


5. 


Shamsundar. 


Punjab. 


Surajdwaj. 


Saubhara. 


Durga. 


6. 


Sarangdhar. 


Gaya, Patna. 


Amastba. 


Wasistha. 


Durga. 


7. 


Dhannadatha. 


Bengal. 


Gour. 


Gautama. 


Jayanti. 


8. 


Somasta. 


Kandhar. 


Nigam. 


Mandhwaj. 


Jayanti. 


9. 


Damodar. 


Karnatic Gaya. 


Karan. 


Walabhya. 


Sakambari. 


10. 


Dindayal. 


Nepal Agra. 


Aitbana_ 


Sambar. 


Sakambari. 


11 


Sadanand. 


Agra. 


Kulsrashta. 


Harat. 


Laxmi. 


12. 


Raghavrao. 


Sural Gujarath. 


Balmik. 


Walmik. 


Laxmi. 



Kayasth 323 

The. Sri Bastab sub-caste is further divided into two sub-divi- 
sions, Khare and Dusre. tracing their origin to the two sons of 
Dharamadhwaj the fourth son of Chitragupla. The Khare Sri 
Bastabs claim to be higher than the ordinary Sri Bastabs. The two 
sub-divisions do not intermarry nor eat nor drink together. 

Of these thirteen sub-castes, those that are numerous in these 
dominions are the Mathur, Bhatnagar, Aithana, Saksena, Sri Bastab 
Khare and Dusre. T-he Mathur Kayasths are recognised by all to 
be the chief class. 

The Chandra Seniya Kayasths of Bombay and Poona, a few 
of whom only are to be found in the Hyderabad State, claim to be 
the descendants of Raja Chandrasena, a Kshatriya king of Oudh, and 
style themselves ' Prabhu *, popularly ' Parbhu ', from ' Prabhu ' a 
lord. The legendary origin of these people is just the same as that 
of the Bengal Kayasths (Risley's "Tribes and Castes", Bengal, 
Vol. I, p. 438), both claiming descent from Raja Chandrasen of the 
lunar race, whos^ wife and son were protected by the sage Dalabhya 
from Pa?suram's wrath. This may lead to the conclusion that both 
have come originally from the same stock and their separation is due 
to geographical causes. 

TTie Chandraseniya Kayasths were divided, formerly, into two 
endogamous divisions!, Davane fjom Daman, and Chandraseniya 
proper, the members of which did not intermarry. The two branches 
have been recently reunited and marriage relations have been re- 
established, as it was recognised that they were originally one and 
the same people and the differentiation was due to purely geogra- 
phical causes. The Prabhus rendered distinguished services as reve- 
nue accountants and soldiers under the Muhammadan and subsequently 
under the Maratha rule. 

As regards marriages, the Brahmanical gotras, though re- 
cognised in theory, are ineffective. Thus, all Mathurs belong to the 
Kasyapa gotra and of necessity violate the primary rule of exogamy 
upon which the gotra system depends. The intermarriage is regu- 
lated by a number of exogamous sections, mostly of territorial or 
titular type. A man must marry within the sub-caste and outside 
the exogamous section to which he belongs. The system is supple- 



324 Kayasth 

mented by a table of prohibited degrees, calculated in rfie manner 
prevalent among other Northern India castes of the same social 
standing. 

Marriage — As a rule, girls must be married after the com- 
pletion of the eighth year and before attaining puberty. It is not 
unusual, however, for the daughters of poor Kayasth families to 
remain unmarried up to the age of eighteen or nineteen. When a 
girl is married before puberty, she lives with Jier own people, apart 
from the husband, until she has attained sexual maturity. When she 
is married after puberty, she goes to live with her husband at once or, 
at the latest, after a year. Polygamy is allowed, but is rarely resorted 
to unless the first wife is barren or incurably diseased. Widows may 
not marry again nor is divorce recognised. 

The first step towards initiating a proposal for marriage is taken 
by the parents or guardians of the bride, who depute a Brahman and 
the family barber to select a suitable bridegroom. The ceremony 
is of the orthodox type and comprises several observances. Sindm- 
handhan, or the smearing of vermilion by the bridegrooni on the 
bride's forehead, is deemed to be the binding portion of the ceremony. 
Connubial relations cannot commence until the ceremony of 
Dwgaman, or the bringing home of the bride, has been performed. 
This may take place one, three, five or seven years after the marriage, 
according to the age of the bride. 

Religion — The religion of the Kayasths is that of the ortho- 
dox high caste Hindu. They are either Vaishnavas or Saivas. The 
worship of Durga and Sakti is believed, however, to be their favour- 
ite cult. Chitragupta, the mythical ancestor of the caste, is honoured 
once a year with offerings of sweetmeats and money and the symbo- 
lical worship of pen and ink and the tools of the Kayasth's trade. 
Brahmans are employed for religious and ceremonial purposes and 
for the worship of the greater gods. The Kayasths burn their dead, 
throw the ashes into a holy river and perform Sradha generally on the 
13th day after death. 

Social Status — The social status of the caste is highly respect- 
able. The Vaishnava members of the caste abstain from flesh and 
wine, but the Kayasths usually eat mutton and goat's flesh, and 



Kayasth 325 

indulge froely in strong drink. 

Occupation — " Clerical work is believed to be the original 
and characteristic occupation of the caste and an illiterate Kayasth is 
looked upon as a creature with no proper reason for existing. Kayasth 
tradition, however, puts a very liberal construction on the expression 
clerical work, and includes in it not only clerkly pursuits of a sub- 
ordinate character, but the entire business of managing the affairs of 
the country in the capacity of deoan, sarharhkar, etc., to the 
ruling power. It is doubtless owing in some measure to this con- 
nection with former governors that the Kayasths are now in possession 
of considerable zamindaries and tenures of substantial value, while 
comparatively few of them are to be found among the lower grades 
of cultivators." * 

*Risley's "Tribes and Castes," Vol. I. p. 452. 



XLIX 

Khatik 

Khatik, Sultankar, Alitkar — the tanner caste, supposed to have 
come from Nagar in Marwar more than t\^o hundred years ago. 
According to the traditions current among the people, they are des- 
cended from Dharmaraja, the eldest of the Pandav brothers. The 
members of the caste are tall, strong, with an alert expression, and 
speak Hindustani with a mixture of Marwari. They have no endo- 
gamous divisions. They say they have got eighty-four exogamous 
sections, but only a few of these are known, as shown below — 

1. Samare. 10. Asiwal. 

2. Parewai. jj. Chawal. 

3. Navare. 12. Khichi. 

4. Chandel. 13. Khas. 

5. Bhurasha. 14. Sakunya. 

6. Padelwal. 15. Butele. 

7. Nagore. 16. Chavade. 

8. Tepan. 1 7. Chavan. 

9. Pilwal. 18. Pohade. 

19. Sambre. 

A man is forbidden to marry a woman belonging to his own 
section. No other section is a bar to marriage, provided that he does 
not marry any of his first cousins. This rule of exogamy is further 
supplemented by prohibited degrees, calculated to three generations 
in the descending line. 

Marriage — Both adult and infant marriage are recognised by 
the caste, but the latter is deemed the more respectable. The 
marriage ceremony is of the orthodox type. On the wedding day, 
the bridegroom goes to the bride's house where, on arrival, he is con- 
ducted to a seat under a wedding canopy or mandap. There the 
bride joins him and is seated on his left hand. A sacred fire is 
kindled before them by the priest and the bride's maternal uncle puts 



Khatik 327 

her left hand into the bridegroom's right hand. After the clothes 
of the bridal pair have been knotted together by the officiating 
Brahman, they walk seven times round the milk post (mani khamh). 
This is followed by Kanyadan, or the giving away of the bride by 
her parents and the bridegroom's acceptance of her. The seven 
circuits, taken by the bridal pair round the milk post and the sacred 
fire, are deemed to be the binding portion of the ceremony. Poly- 
gamy is permitted and there is no positive rule fixing any limit to the 
number of wives a man may have. Most Khatiks, however, are too 
poor to keep more than one wife, and a man only takes a second wife 
when the first is barren. A widow may marry again, but she is not 
required to marry her late husband's younger brother. Divorce is 
permitted with the sanction of the Pancha\)at and divorced wives may 
marry again by the form in use at the remaniage of widows. 

Religion, — By religion, the Khatiks are orthodox Hindus and 
employ Maratha Brahmans for religious and ceremonial purposes. 
Their chief deities are Bhairoba of Nagar, in Marwar, and Amba 
Bhavani of Tuljapur, who are worshipped at their weddings. A goat 
is sacrificed in the name of Bhavani on the Dassera, or the tenth of the 
light half of Aswin (September). If smallpox breaks out in the 
family, they appease the goddess Sitala with offerings of goats and 
fowls. The dead are usually burnt, but recourse is had to burial 
if the deceased is an unmarried person. When the body is burned, 
the ashes are collected on the third day after death and thrown into 
a river. Smdha is performed on the tenth day when pmdas, or balls 
of rice, are offered for the benefit of the soul of the deceased. On 
the eleventh day, the chief mourner shaves and becomes purified. 
The funeral ceremony is closed by a feast to the members of the caste. 

Occupation. — The characteristic occupation of the caste is the 
tanning of leather. They buy hides from the neighbouring villages 
and sell them, after dressing, to Chammars and Bohoras. In tan- 
ning, they use the red lac dye, math (a kind of bean), salt, and the 
bark of the taroar {Cassia amiculata). Socially, the Khatiks rank 
very low. They will eat fish and fowl and the flesh of hare, deer 
and goat, but abstain from beef and pork. They indulge freely m 
spirituous and fermented liquors. 



Khatri 

Katri, Chhatri (Sansk,. Kshatriya) — a very widely diffused caste 
of the Panjab and Gujarath, supposed to have come into these domi- 
nions nearly four hundred years ago. The Khatris claim to be 
descended from Kshatriyas, of early Indian tradition, and, in support 
of this claim, they allege that they assume the sacred thread and com- 
mence the study of the Vedas at the age of eight years, as is enjoined 
in the sacred books. They are a very fine, fair, handsome race with 
delicate Aryan features. " Trade is their main occupation," says Sir 
George Campbell, whose remarks on the caste are worth quoting, " but 
in fact they have broader and more distinguishing features. Besides 
monopolising- the trade of the Panjab and the greater, part of 
Afghanistan and doing a good deal beyond those limits, they are, in 
the Panjab, the chief civil administrators and have almost all literate 
work in their hands. So far as the Sikhs have a priesthood, they 
are, moreover, the priests or gurus of the Sikhs. Both Nanak and 
Govind were Khatris. Thus, then, they are in fact, in the Panjab, 
so far as a more energetic race will permit them, all that Maratha 
Brahmans are in the Maratha country, besides engrossing the trade, 
which the Maratha Brahmans do not. They are not usually mili- 
tary in their character, but are quite capable of using the sword when 
necessary. Divan Sawan Mai, Governor of Multan, and his successor, 
Mulraj, and very many of Ranjit Singh's chief functionaries, were 
Khatris. Even under Muhammadan rulers they have risen to high 
administrative posts. It is said that a Katri was Dewan of Badak 
Shah or Kunduz, as was the Peshkar Chandu Lai of Hyderabad. 
Under the Afghans a Khatri was governor of Peshawar, and the 
Emperor Akbar's famous Minister, Todar Mai, was a Khatri. 
Altogether there can be no doubt that the Khatris are one of the 
most acute, energetic and remarkable races in India. The Khatris 



Khatri 329 

aie staunch J^inclus, and it is somewhat singular that, while giving 
a religion and priests to the Sikhs, they themselves are comparatively 
seldom Sikhs." 

Internal Structure — Three divisions of the Khatris are to be 
distinguished in these dominions, viz : — Brahma Khatri, Kapur Khatri, 
and Khatri, or Patkar Sale, who, though bearing a common caste 
name, differ so entirely from one another in their domestic and social 
customs as to deserve separate treatment. 

Brahma Khatri. — The members of this caste say that they came 
from Gujarath, but little is known regarding their immigration. A 
legend, cunent among them, traces their descent from one Raja 
Ratnasen of the Solar race who, to escape the wrath of Parasram, 
sought the protection of Dadhicha Rishi. The Raja was killed while 
hunting in a forest and left four male children, whom the Rishi 
brought up as his own sons. Parasram, when once visiting the 
Ashram of the sage, noticed the children and thinking them to be of 
Kshatriya origin, called upon Dadhicha to give them up to him, but 
the latter refused to do so, saying that they were Brahmans. There- 
upon Parasram remarked that if they were really Brahmans, as 
Dadhicha said, he should eat with them from the same dish. Dadhicha 
readily partook with them of some food placed on a plantain leaf ; 
Parasram was satisfied and did not molest the children. The princes 
were called Brahma Khatris, a name which has since been transmitted 
to their descendants. 

The sections of the Brahma Khatris are of the ordinary Brah- 
manical type. A man may not marry a girl belonging to his own 
section, nor may he marry within the usual prohibited degrees reckoned 
to the seventh generation in the descending line. Girls are married as 
infants at ages varying from five to twelve. The marriage ceremony 
is the standard Brahmanical type, the gift of the bride to the bride- 
groom and his acceptance of her being deemed the essential and 
binding portion. Polygamy is permitted, without any definite limit 
as to the number of wives a man may have. Widows are not allowed 
to many again nor is divorce recognised. In matters of religious and 
ceremonial observances the Brahma Khatris exhibit little divergence 
from the standard of orthodox Hinduism. They employ Saraswat 



330 Khatri 

Brahmans as priests, who are received on terms of equality by other 
members of the sacred order. In point of social standing, they rank 
next to Brahmans. The members of the caste eat fish and the flesh 
of the goat, sheep and deer, and drink spirituous and fermented 
liquors. Some of the members abstain from flesh and wine and are, 
on that account, raised in the estimation of the caste. Most of the 
Brahma Khatris are engaged in trade. Some of them have distin- 
guished themselves as high officials and as members of learned 
professions. 

Kapm Khatri. — The members of this caste trace their origin to 
the Panjab and the bulk of them are said to have emigrated from that 
country in the time of Asaf Jah, the first Nizam of Hyderabad. 
They conform, on the whole, to the traditional usages of the Panjab 
branch of the caste. They look upon the Panjab as their original 
home and the Panjabi customs are the standards by which their social 
and domestic affairs are regulated. Their exogamous sections are of the 
eponymous type, the eponym being mostly a Vedic Saint. The Kapur 
Khatris marry their daughters as infants between the ages of five and 
twelve, condemn the re-marriage of widows and do not recognise 
divorce. Polygamy is permitted without any restriction as to the number 
of wives a man may have. The marriage ceremony is of the type 
in use among Northern India Brahmans. In matters of religion and 
ceremonial observances they are at all points orthodox Hindus. Most 
of them belong to the Vaishnava sect. Kanaujia Brahmans officiate 
Qs their priests. The members of the caste also pay reverence to 
Baba Nanak, the founder of the Sikh religion. They burn their 
dead and perform Sradha in the orthodox fashion. The social position 
of the caste is a high one and all Gour Brahmans will accept water 
from their hands. Trade is believed to be the original occupation 
of the caste. 

Khatri. — Khatri, Patkar Sale, the silk weaving caste, found 
distributed all over the Dominions. Their traditions say that they 
came into these dominions from Mandugad in Malwa nearly four 
hundred years ago and first settled at Gulbarga, whence they spread 
all over the country. The Khatris have the same legend of origin as 
the Bhavsars, relating how they were descended from the posthumous 



Khatri 331 

son of a Kshatrlya woman who, to save her child from Parasram, fled 
to the goddess Ingala for protection. The goddess brought up the 
child, trained him in the art of silk weaving and changed his caste 
name from Kshatiiya into Khatri. The sections of the Khatris are 
of the Brahmanical type and marriage between persons belonging to 
the same gotra, is forbidden. A man may marry two sisters, but two 
brothers cannot marry two sisters. The Khatris practise infant 
marriage, and allow polygamy without setting any limit to the number 
of wives a man may have. Widows may marry again and enjoy full 
freedom of choice in selecting a second husband. Divorce is 
recognised and divorced wives may marry again by the same rite as 
widows. The marriage ceremony is of the orthodox type, Kan^adan, 
or the gift of the bride and the bridegroom's acceptance of the gift, 
being deemed the binding portion of the ceremony. Their patron 
deity is the goddess Devi, who is worshipped with great circumstance 
with offerings of goats. In other respects, the religion of the Khatris 
exhibits little divergence from that of middle class local Hindus. 
They engage Brahmans for religious and ceremonial purposes and 
invest their boys with the sacred thread at the age of nine. The 
dead are either burnt or buried, according to the means of the family 
of the deceased. Sradha is performed on the 10th day, and subse- 
quently on each anniversary of the death. 

Socially, the Khatris rank higher than Kapus and Maratha Kunbis, 
but lower than Brahmans. The members of the caste eat the flesh 
of sheep, goats, and deer and indulge freely in strong drink. Their 
sole occupation is weaving. They weave silk cloth and silk borders. 



LI 

KOLI 

Koli, Taru, Dhimar (Sansk- Dhivar) — i boating and fishing tribe, 
many of whom are engaged as village watchmen and water carriers. 
The Kolis are numerous near Naldrug, along the Balaghat range on 
the western frontier of the Nizam's territory, extending eastwards to 
the districts of Nsmder 2ind Nizamabad, and also to the tract of 
country lying between the Godavari and Hyderabad. 

Traditions of Origin — The etymology of the name Koli is 
obscure. Some seek to derive it from the word ' Kul ' denoting 
' clan ' as distinguished from the word ' Kunbi ' meaning a ' family 
man ' from ' Kutumb ' a ' family.' This, however, proves nothing. 
The members of the tribe claim descent from Walmiki, the author of 
the Ramadan. Others believe them to be the modem representatives 
of the Kirdtds (hunters) spoken of in the Puranas as the offspring of 
Nishad, who was sprung from the arm of the solar king Vena. These 
mythical stories, however, throw very little light on the origin of 
the tribe. 

Early History — ^The first reference to the tribe was in 1340, 
when Muhammad Tughlak found the fort of Kondana or Sinhagad, 
about 10 miles south of Poona, in the hands of a Koli chief. In 
1347, another Koli chief was mentioned as ruling over Javhar, in 
Thana, which yielded an annual revenue of 9 lacs of rupees and 
included thirty-two forts. By the Bahmani kings, the Kolis were left 
almost independent under their own hereditary chiefs or naiks. The 
Koli country wcis then known as Bavan Mavals, or fifty-two valleys, 
each under a naik_. These naiks held a good position, both in the 
Bahamani and in the Ahmednagar kingdoms, ranking among the nobles 
called ' Sardars ' and ' Mansabdars.' About the middle of the 
seventeenth century, when the Emperor Shahjahan, on the final tali 
of Ahmednagar, introduced the Toda Mai's survey into the con- 



KoLi 333 



eii 



quered territories, the Kolis resented the minute measuring of thei: 
lands and the fixing of a regular rental. Under one Kheni Naik 
they rose in rebellion against their Mogal rulers and the revolt was 
not put down without extreme severity. After this outbreak was 
crushed, the Kolis were treated with kindness by Aurangzeb. Under 
»he Peshwas they gained a high reputation for their skill and daring 
in taking hill forts. During the latter part of the eighteenth century, 
and for many years after, the beginning of British rule, the country 
was disturbed by the robberies of bands of Koli outlaws. In 1760, 
the peace was broken by a rising of Kolis under their Naik Jiwaji 
Bomla (Trans. Bom. Georg. Soc, I, 245 and 256). Jiwaji with- 
drew to the hills and organised a series of gang robberies, causing 
widespread terror and misery throughout the country. For twenty 
years he held out bravely, defeating and killing the generals the 
Peshwa's Government sent against him. At last he was so hotly 
pursued that, on the advice of Dhondo Gopal, the Peshwa's governor 
at Nasik, he surrendered all his forts to Tukoji Holkar and, through 
Holkar's influence, was pardoned and placed in military and police 
charge of a district of sixty villages with powers of life and death 
over Koli robbers and outlaws. In 1798, a fresh disturbance took 
place among the Kolis. The leader of this outbreak was Ramji Naik 
Bhangria, who was an abler and more daring man than his prede- 
cessors, and succeeded in baffling all the efforts of the Government 
officers to seize him. As force seemed hopeless, the Government 
offered Ramji a pardon and gave him an important police post, in 
which he did excellent service. 

Even after the establishment of the British rule in the Deccan, 
nearly twenty years passed before the warlike Kolis were brought 
to order. In 1829, they were again troublesome and, under their 
leaders Ramji Bhangria and Rama Kirwa, ravaged the country far 
and wide. In 1830, they were joined by the Bhils and their conjoint 
raids became most daring and systematic. Troops were des- 
patched against them under the command of Captain Luykin and 
Lieutenants Lloyd and Forbes and, with the help of the people, the 
revolt was put down and the leaders were taken and executed. 

During the 1857 mutiny, the soldierlike qualities of the Kolis were 



334 KoLi 

turned to account and a corps was formed under Captain Nuttall, 
which proved very useful cind serviceable. In spite of want of time, 
the Kolis mastered their drill with the ease of born soldiers and 
proved skilful skirmishers among the hills and on rough ground. They 
were great walkers, moving with the bright, springy step of High- 
landers, often marching thirty or forty miles in a day over the 
roughest ground, carrying their arms, ammunition, baggage and food. 
Every time they met an enemy, though soijietimes taken by surprise 
and sometimes fighting against heavy odds, they showed the same 
dashing and persevering courage. When the regular troops were 
withdrawn in 1860, their places were taken by detachments of Koli 
corps. These corps continued to perform this outpost duty till 1861, 
when they were disbanded and all, except a few who entered the 
police, returned to their former occupation of tillage and field labour 
The Kolis have now settled down to peaceful pursuits. 

Internal Structure — The Kolis are divided into several endog- 
amous sub-tribes two of which, Malhar Koli and Mahadev Koli, 
are to be found in these Dominions. The Malhar Kolis take their 
name from the god Malhari, whom they reverence as their tutelary 
deity. They are also called Panbharis, or water carriers, and Chumli 
Kolis, because they wear on their head the chumli or twisted cloth 
on which to rest the water pot. Captain Mackintosh describes them 
as one of the purest =ind the most respectable of the Koli tribes. They 
are found In almost every village of the plains, where they are 
employed as members of the Balota and supply water to the villagers 
and travellers and clean out the village rest house and office. A 
few of them cure headmen of villages. 

The Mahadev Kolis, who derive their name from the god 
Mahadev, are very numerous in this territory and deserve special 
description. They are dark in colour and short of stature, but 
strong and muscular. The women are generally slender and well- 
formed, with a pleasing expression of features, and some are very 
pretty. 

The Mahadev Kolis have twenty-four exogamous septs, each of 
which is further divided into a number of surnames or sub-sections. 
These are as follow : — 



KOLI 



335 



Main section. 






Number of sub-sections 


Aghasee ... ... ... _ 3 


Bhagivant 






.. 14 


Bhonsle 








.. 16 


Budivant 








.. 17 


Chavan 








.. 2 


Dagai 








.. 12 


Dalvi 








.. 14 


Gaikwad 








.. 12 


Gowli 








.. 2 


Jagtap 








.. 13 


Kadam 








.. 16 


Kedar 








.. 15 


Kharad 








.. 11 


Khir Sagar .. 








.. 15 


Namdev 








.. 15 


Pavar 








.. 13 


Polevas, 








.. 12 


Shiv 








.. 9 


Sirkhi 








.. 2 


Suryavanshi . . 








... 16 


Utercha 








.. 13 


Sagar 








.. 12 


Shaikhacha 








... 12 


Shesh 








.. — 


Vanak Pal .. 








.. 17 



The sept names show a very curious mixture of different ele- 
ments. Two of them, Namdev and Shiv, are of the eponymous type. 
Six, oiz., Bhonsle, Chavan, Dalvi, Gaikwad, Kadam and Pavar are 
evidently taken from the Marathas and suggest a common element in 
the two communities. This view is supported by Captain Mackintosh 
(Trans., Bom. Georg. Soc, I, 204), who says, " we are supported by 
tradition in stating that, in former ages, from necessity, choice or 
other cause, persons of rank occasionally joined the Koli community 
and became founders of new clans." A few of the names, such as 
Bhagivant (fortunate), Budivant (intelligent), Gowli (milkman). 



336 KoLi 

suggest reference to some personal distinction, or attribulje, or occupa- 
tion of the original founder of the sept. On the whole the sept 
names give no clue to the early affinities of the tribe. 

The Kolis observe the simple rule of exogamy that a man may not 
marry outside the sub-tribe or inside the sept to which he belongs. 
He may marry the daughter of his maternal uncle. He may also 
marry two sisters, provided that the younger is not married first. 
Polygamy is permitted and, in theory, no limit is set as to the number 
of wives a man may have. In actual life, however, it is unusual 
for a Koii to have more than two wives. 

Marriage. — Girls are married either as infants, or as adults at 
ages ranging from eight to sixteen years. Sexual intercourse before 
marriage is not recognised and is visited with expulsion of the girl from 
the community. The marriage ceremony corresponds closely with 
that of the Maratha Kunbis. The initiative is taken by the father 
of the bridegroom, who sends some elderly persons to the girl's 
house to ascertain whether her parents approve of the match. After 
the preliminary negotiations have been completed and a bride-price, 
varying from Rs. 15 to Rs. 30, has been paid to the father of the 
girl, the boy's father goes to the house of the bride and makes her 
a present of new clothes and jewels according to his means. This 
ceremony, knovm as Mangani, having been performed, an auspicious 
day for the marriage is fixed by consulting a Brahman skilled in 
astrology. On the wedding day, the bridegroom's party march in 
procession to the bride's house, the time of starting being so arranged 
that they shall arrive there at sunset. On arrival, the bridegroom is 
conducted to a seat placed under the wedding canopy. When the 
bride enters, both are made to stand opposite to each other and a 
curtain is held between them. Rice, coloured with turmeric, is thrown 
on the heads of the couple by the assembled persons and also by the 
officiating Brahman who, at the same time, recites sacred texts 
(mantras) purporting that the bridal pair have now become husband 
and wife. This part of the ceremony is called Antarpdt and is 
deemed to be the binding and essential portion of the marriage ritual. 
On the removal of the curtain, the wedded couple are seated side 
by side, the bride on the left of her husband, and their clothes are 



e 



e 



KOLI 337 

tied in a knot. 

Horn isperformed by throwing ghi and rice on the sacred fire. 
The bridal pair then go round making obeisance before the family 
gods and the elders and securing their blessings, after which the knot 
of their garments is untied. Thus end the rites which are necessary to 
make a marriage binding. 

Widow=Marriage._A widow may marry again and is under 
no restrictions in her choice of a second husband. In case a widow 
re-marries she is allowed to take nothing with her, not even thi 
children she may have had by her late husband. The ritual used at 
the marriage of a widow is very simple. On an auspicious night, th 
pair are seated facing each other on low wooden stools in a square 
made of wheat flour, and the officiating Brahman priest ties the ends 
of their garments in a knot and daubs vermilion on the bride's fore- 
head. For three days after her re-marriage the widow remains in 
concealment, since to see her face, during this time, is considered 
unlucky by married females whose husbands are living. 

Divorce — Divorce is permitted with the sanction of the tribal 
Panchayat =and divorced women are allowed to marry again by the 
same form and in the same manner as widows. 

Child=Birth. — Koli women are unclean for twelve days after 
child-birth, at the end of which time the mother and child are bathed 
and the floor of the house is plastered with cowdung. The ceremony 
of Chhatti, for propitiating the goddess Satwai, is performed on the 
sixth day after birth. 

Religion. — In religion, the Kolis differ very little from other com- 
munities of the same social position. Their patron deity is Mahadev, 
m whose honour a fast is observed on Mahashivatra, or the 14th of 
the dark half of Magh (end of February), and offerings of milk, 
flowers and bel leaves {/Egle marmelos) are made. Their house- 
hold worship, in which priests take no part, is addressed to Bhairoba 
of Sonari (Ahmadnagar), Devi of Tuljapur (Nizam's territory) and 
Khandoba of Jejuri (Poona). Among their minor gods are Daryabai, 
Ghorpaddevi, Gunavir, Hiroba, Kalsubai, Mhasoba and Navlai, who 
are propitiated with a variety of offerings. Reverence is also paid to 
Musalman saints and to the spirits of ancestors who have died a 



338 KoLi 

violent death. The assistance of Brahmans is called in on all religious 
and ceremonial occasions. Their chief festival is celebrated on the 
2nd of the light half of Magh (January) when a goat is sacrificed 
and offered to Khandoba ; the victim is afterv^fards cooked and eaten 
by the votaries. This period corresponds to the harvesting of the rabi 
(cold weather) crops. 

The Kolis have a strong belief in spirits and sorcery. Persons 
who die a violent death, or those who leave this world with their 
desires unfulfilled, are liable after death fo reappear as bhuts or 
malevolent ghosts and give trouble to the living. In such ccises the 
services of an exorcist (jdnta) are requisitioned to ascertain what spirit 
(bhut), witch, or god has caused a particular illness and to prescribe 
the cure. The spirits or gods who are pronounced by the jdnta to 
have been the cause of the illness are appeased by gifts of money, 
goats or fowls. 

Disposal of the Dead — The dead are buried in a lying 
posture, with the face upwards and the head pointing to the north. 
If the body be that of a woman whose husband is alive, it is bathed, 
rubbed with oil and dressed in a green sari. In the case "of a widow 
this is omitted. Mourning is observed for 10 days. On the 10th 
day, the chief mourner shaves, bathes himself and offers to the 
deceased twelve balls [pinda) made of cooked rice and daubed with 
vermilion and turmeric paste. This ceremony is performed with the 
assistance of a Brahman who receives presents of money and corn 
on that account. On the thirteenth day, relatives are fed and final 
purification is obtained. 

Social Status — Socially, the Kolis rank below the Maratha 
Kunbis, Kapus and Gollas and above the Parit, Nhavi and the 
lowest unclean classes. They eat fowl, fish, mutton and venison and 
indulge in spirituous and fermented liquors. 

Occupation — -Little is known regarding the original occupation 
of the tribe. At the present day, the great bulk of the Kolis are 
cultivators holding land as occupancy or non-occupancy raiats. They 
are said, however, to be less painstaking and less skilful in the 
management of crops than the Maratha Kunbis. Many of them are 
pateh, or village headmen, holding service land, while others make 



KoLl 339 

a livelihood, as landless day labourers. They are also engaged as 
village watchmen and boatmen and are known as tarus while serving 
in the latter capacity. Of late years, a few have entered govern- 
ment service. 



LIl 

KOMTI 

Komti, Komati, Vaishya, Baqal, Bania, Sahukar — a wealthy 
trading caste, who are cloth and grain dealers, bankers, money- 
lenders, grocers, and shop-keepers. They are found scattered all 
over the Nizam's Dominions but are especially numerous in the Telugu 
speaking districts, where they enjoy the almost entire monopoly of 
trade. The etymology of the word ' Komti ' is uncertain and throws 
no light upon the origin of the caste. It is .supposed to be a variant 
of the Sanskrit ' Kumati ' (^u-base, mair-mind) meaning base-minded, 
or peculant, which probably has reference to the exacting practices of 
the members of ihe caste as money-lenders and village grocers. The 
Komtis themselves, maintain that their original name was " Gomati ' 
and its corruption into ' Komti ' was the outcome of the feeling of 
jealousy with which their rival classes have always regarded them. 
Even the word ' Gomati ' has not been satisfactorily explained. Some 
derive it from go-cow and mathi-shed and assert that it refers 
to their traditionary occupation of cattle-keepers, which was assigned 
to them as Vaishyas by Manu. Others trace its connection to the 
river Gomati in Oudh, whose valley, it is alleged, the ancestors of 
the present Komtis originally occupied. Other derivations, more 
or less fictitious, follow, all tending to support the pretensions of the 
caste to an Aryan origin. 

Origin — The Komtis of the Atrafi Balda District have the 
following legend regarding the origin of their caste. In the far 
remote past, the Vaishyas pleased Mahadeo by their devotions and 
piety and were in a body translated to Kailas, the blessed abode of 
Shiva. This caused distress in the world. Trade vanished and 
men and beasts died of hunger. To alleviate the prevailing calamity, 



KoMTi 341 

the Vaishya^ were directed by Mahadeo to revisit the world and 
renew their mortal existence. To this they demurred on the ground 
that they had been, once for all, absolved, by his grace, from the 
cycle of life and death. The solution of the difficulty devolved upon 
Vishnu who created a golden cow with a golden city in her stomach 
and induced the Vaishyas to people it, as this would save them from 
the wrath of Shiya. The Vaishyas, on entering it, were so oppressed 
by the internal heat that they repented of their folly and implored 
the God Shiva to release them, promising never to disobey him in 
future. They were helped out through the cow's ear and therefore 
got the name 'Gomati,' which, as the Komtis interpret the word, 
mccuis sprung from the cow's ear'. They were, subsequently, 
established at Penukundapattan (situated nearly 100 miles from 
Bezwada, on the Madras Railway line), and the god Mahadeo, who 
promised ever to remain with them and to protect them from danger 
or distress, was installed in the town and, under the name of 
Nagareshwar, became the patron deity of the caste. 

The JComtis, as the legend suggests, claim to be the descendants 
of the ancient Vaishyas and, next to Brahmans, are most strict and 
punctilious in the performance of their religious and ceremonial duties 
and the observance of ceremonial purity. They occupy a very high 
rank in the caste system, as it prevails at the present day in Telingana, 
and have assumed for themselves such denominations as Vaishya, 
Urjaloo, Oorvaya (all meaning 'sprung from the thigh of Brahma') 
and such titles as 'Gupta' (concealed) and 'Shetti' a corruption of 
the Sanskrit shreshti (noble). Their present calling, too, is in keeping 
with the traditionary functions assigned to the Vaishyas in the Smritis. 
On the other hand, the exogamous sections into which they are 
divided are entirely of the totemistic type, being the names of 
plants, trees, flowers, &c., which are held in reverence by the mem- 
bers of the sections bearing their names. So also the custom of 
Msanarikam (marrying one's maternal uncle's daughter), so common 
among the Dravidians, has become a rigid law among the Komtis, 
so that a Komti is obliged to marry his maternal uncle's daughter 
whether she is liked by him or not. Whatever claims, therefore, the 
Komtis may have to an Aryan origin, their uniformly dark complexion 



342 KoMTi 

and coarse features, the totemistic character of their- exogamous 
sections and the existence among them of well preserved Dravidian 
usages lead to no other conclusion than that they are of Dravidian 
descen^. 

Internal Structure — The Komtis of the Hyderabad Territory 
have the following endogamous divisions : — 

(1) Yegna or Vegna Komti. 

(2) Neti or Raipak Komti. 

(3) Vidur Komti. 

(4) Arva Komti. 

(5) Gouri Komti. 

(6) Jain Komti. 

Vegna or Vegna Komtis — these form the bulk of the caste in His 
Highness's Dominions and receive their name from Venginada or 
Veginada, "which, in olden times, ccanprised the territory 
between the Godaveri and the Krishna rivers below the Eastern 
Ghats." (Mr. Waiter Eliot of R. A. S., Vol. IV). It was 
from this tract they appear to have entered the adjoining districts 
of Warangal and Nalgunda and to have thence migrated as 
far north as Adilabad and as far west as Bidar and Parbhani. 
The members of the sub-caste are, however, disposed to give a 
mythical origin to their name, which they derive from the follow- 
ing legend. Once upon a time a Gandharva named Chitra- 
kanta was deeply in love with a celestial nymph, Wasukanya, 
but she refused to listen 'to his addresses. Enraged at this 
refusal, he inflicted upon her a curse by which she was doomed 
to be born a Vaishya girl on earth and he, born as a Kshatriya 
king, would seize her by force, and gratify his lust. Wasukanya 
meekly replied that were that to be her destiny she would rather 
perish in flames than submit to his will. In course of time the 
curse took effect and Wasukanya was born as the daughter of 
Kusuma Shetti, an opulent merchant (Vaishya) of Penkunda- 
pattan. Chitrakanta took birth in the illustrious family of the 
Pandawas, then reigning at Raj Mahendry, on the banks of the 
Godaveri river, and was named Vishnuwardhan. When 
Wasavambika, as was the girl's name, was eight years old, 



KoMTi 343 

Vishnuwardhan happened to visit the town. The girl accom- 
panied her father, who went to the court to pay allegiance to 
his sovereign. The girl's superhuman charms captivated the 
king's heart and he expressed his desire to marry her. The 
father could neither refuse the king's demand nor could he 
consent to marry his daughter to a Kshatriya. He therefore 
made some excuse and returned home in grief. The king 
persisted and was impatient of delay. To save her honour 
Wasavambika resolved to die. It was also resolved in an 
assembly that the headman of .each family of Vaishyas should 
perish with the maiden to save their caste from disgrace. A 
large funeral pyre was made and Wasavambika, before leaping 
into it, cursed beauty and ordained that no Komti female 
should, in future, be born beautiful. She also enjoined that a 
Komti boy should have, henceforth, for his wife his maternal 
uncle's daughter. She then threw herself into the flames and 
was reduced to ashes. Out of 714 Vaishya families only the 
heads of 102 followed her to death. One pair (Labha Shetti 
and his wife) had no issue to perpetuate their lineage and the 
family became extinct. The descendants of the others have since 
been known as Yegna, or Agni, Komtis meaning "sprung from 
those who perished in fire." The maiden received divine 
honours and, under the name of Kanyaka Parmeshwari, became 
the tutelar goddess of the caste. The members of the Pindli 
Kula gotra, to which Kusuma Shetti belonged, have been 
highly respected and accorded special honours in all religious 
ceremonies. 
Ncti or Raipak Komtis — an offshoot from the Yegna Komtis, so 
called since the members sepjirated from the main caste owing to 
a petty quarrel over the serving of ghi (neti-ghi in Telugu). 
At a caste dinner, two lines (pangats) of Komtis sat at meals 
and ghi was served to one line, which commenced eating before 
it was served to the other. This was against etiquette and the 
two parties quarrelled and separated. After the incident above 
referred to, the insulted Komtis retired to the village of Raipak 
and hence were known by that name. The legend continues 



344 KoMTi 

that the two classes agreed to make up the quarrel and unite 
and, with this purpose, arranged a common dinner party in a 
mango grove. Kankamma, their patron deity, appeared on the 
scene in the disguise of a milk-woman, bearing on her head a 
milk-pot which, on arrival, she dashed on the ground and began 
to cry. This attracted the attention of the guests who gathered 
around her and offered her the price of the broken pot. " Can 
that unite the broken pieces?" she asked, and so saying declined 
the offer, thereby intimating that once they had separated, union 
among them was impossible. The Neti Komtis are exclusively 
Vibhutidharis or Shaivaits, bury their dead, acknowledge Aradhi 
Brahmans as their gurus, or spiritual teachers, and wear a lingam 
on their person. It may be that the difference of cult has 
occasioned their separation from the main caste. 
Vidur Komti — the illegitimate offspring of the Vegna Komtis by 

women of other castes. 
Art)a Komtis — emigrants from Madras are so called, ' Arva ' being 
a generic term distinguishing the Tamil -speaking p^ple from 
the Telugu-speaking communities. They are mostly found in 
Chancharta, Kangipalli, Masaipeth and Jagtyal of the Karim- 
nagar District. They have a peculiar custom by which a girl, 
on attaining puberty, is immediately removed from her father's 
house and is either sent to her husband or is kept in a neigh- 
bour's house. 
Gouri Komtis — are believed to derive their name from Gouti, the 
wife of Mahadeo, with whom Kankammawaru or Kcinyaka 
Parmeshwari, the patron deity of the Komti caste, is identified. 
They are found in very small numbers in these dominions and 
are probably immigrants from the Madras Presidency and the 
Mysore State. Both the Vegna and the Gouri Komtis are said 
to have sprung from the same stock, their customs and traditions 
closely resembling each other. 
Jain Komtis — the legend relating to Kankammawaru says that 
those of the Vaishyas who, through fear of King Vishnuwar- 
dhan, escaped from Penukundapattan and embraced Jainism, 
were so styled. Whatever value may be attached to this legen- 



KoMTi 345 

dary account, the term Komti is, at the present day, erroneously 
applied to the Kambhoj and other Jains and probably has its 
origin in the similarity of their occupations to that of the Komti 
caste. 

Exogamy. — The Komtis are divided into 102 exogamous 
sections, mostly of the totemistic character, bearing the names of trees, 
plants or flowers, which the members of the sections abstain from 
touching, using, cutting,' or injuring in any other way. Alongside of 
these clearly defined totemistic sections are found the names of Vedic 
Rishis, or saints, which have no bearing upon the regulation of 
marriages and appear to be only ornamental appendages intended to 
give an eponymous character to the original sections, so as to make 
them conform to the Brahmanical gotras. Some of the sections are 
divided into two or more sub-sects which do not, however, form 
different exogamous groups and may therefore be different local names 
of the parent sections. 

The Komtis "forbid a man to marry a girl who belongs to the 
same gotra as himself. The Komtis observe an elaborate system 
of prohibited degrees by which each member of the caste is required 
to know — 

(1) one's own gotra — styled " First gotra ;" 

(2) one's maternal uncle's gotra — styled " Second gotra ;" 

(3) one's father's "maternal uncle's gotra — styled "Third gotra." 

Now if the gotra of the proposed bridegroom, or his first gotra, should 
be the same as the gotra in which the proposed bride's paternal 
grand-mother is born, or the bride's third gotra, the bride stands 
in the relation of a grand-daughter to the bridegroom and the parties 
can be married. If, however, the above gotras are reversed, i.e., the 
third gotra of the proposed bridegroom be the same as the first gotra 
of the proposed bride, the bride is regarded as the mother of the 
bridegroom and the parties cannot be married. 

The rule defining the prohibited degrees is illustrated in the 
following table : — 



346 



KOMTI 



Gotra of the pro- 


Gotra c 


f the 


The gotras in 


If thtf girl 


to be 


posed bride- 


proposed 


bride. 


1 and 2 being 


married is 


agree- 


groom. 






the same the re- 
lation in which 
the bride stands 


able or 


not. 








to the bridegroom. 






First. 


Third. 




Grand-daughter. 


Yes. 




Third. 


First. 




Mother. 


No. 




Second. 


Third. 




Daughter. 


No. 




Third. 


Second. 




Paternal-aunt. 


Yes 




First. 


Second. 




Daughter-in-law. 


Yes. 




Second 


First. 




Sister-in-law. 


Yes. 





This table is consulted only if the boy has no maternal uncle's 
daughter, for, by the usage of Myanarkam, he is obliged to marry 
her, whether there is mutual liking or affection between them or not. 

The marriage of two sisters to the same man is permitted. 
Adoption is resorted to and the boy adopted may belong to the 
adoptor's gotra or to any other gotra. In the latter case, preference 
is given to the daughter's son. Outsiders are not admitted into the 
caste, but it is said that an infant of a higher caste may be admitted 
before its umbilical cord is cut. Polygamy is allowed in case the 
first wife is barren, adulterous or incurably diseased. 

Marriage — The Komtis marry their daughters as infants 
between the ages of five and ten. Should a girl attain puberty before 
marriage she is turned out of the caste. Generally, a dowry is paid 
to the bridegroom, but if the bridegroom be a widower, or advanced 
in age, a price varymg in amount from Rs. 100 to Rs. 500, or even 
more, is paid for the bride. Girls are not offered to temples nor 
dedicated to trees. The Garbhadan ceremony (the purification of the 
womb) is performed even before the girl Is sexually mature, where- 
upon she is allowed to cohabit with her husband. 

A suitable girl being selected, proposals of marriage are formally 
made by the parents of the boy to the parents of the girl and, on 
their being accepted by the latter, a Brahman astrologer is called upon 
to examine the calculations made on the astrological data at the births 
of the young couple. The parents of both parties are very scrupulous 
on this point and when tiiey are thoroughly satisfied that the horos- 
copes of the couple entirely agree, they proceed to decide the question 



KoMTi 347 

concerning wedding expenses, the amount of dowry to be paid to the 
bridegroom and the value of jewels and clothes to be presented to 
the bride on the wedding day. These points having been settled, a 
day most propitious for the celebration of the nuptials is ascertained 
and fixed, and the fact is announced by the father of the bridegroom 
to the bride's party. Invitation letters, sprinkled with saffron water, 
are addressed to relations and friends, requesting them to grace the 
occasion with their presence. On an auspicious day, marriage pandah 
decorated with flowers, plantain trees, bunches of cocoanut and mango 
leaves, and adorned with festoons, are erected by both parties in front 
of their respective houses. To the wedding pole {muhurta medha), 
which consists of the umbar tree {Ficus glomerata) and which forms 
one of the supports of the pandal in the bride's house, are tied pieces 
of turmeric, nine kinds of grain and some coins, all contained in a piece 
of turmeric-coloured cloth. The household gods and departed ancestors 
are invoked to attend the marriage ceremony. This is followed by 
Kottanam, in which five married women, whose husbands are alive, 
pound rice, in a wooden mortar with two wooden pestles bound together 
and consecrated by the fastening to them of a piece of turmeric and 
two betel leaves. After this, the females proceed to grind turmeric 
in grinding mills. Both the turmeric powder and the pounded rice are 
then collected in a bundle and are reserved for use on the occasion 
of the wedding. The next ceremony is that of Ratii Reni (Araveni 
Kundulu), or the ceremonial bringing of earthen vessels from the house 
of a potter. On the afternoon of the same day, Pochamma and 
Nagalu, the village guardian deities, are propitiated with offerings 
of flowers and sweet dishes, the whole family, men and 
women, proceeding under a canopy to the temple of the 
deities, situated outside the village. These ceremonies are per- 
formed by both parties separately. The bridegroom's party, after this, 
set out for the bride's village, timing their journey so as to arrive at 
sunset. Previous intimation of their arrival having been conveyed to 
the bride's people, both parties meet on the outskirts of the village, 
the greeting being marked by their mutual embraces and by the throw- 
ing of abir (red powder) at one another. The bridegroom is here 
formally welcomed by his future father-in-law and is conducted, with 



348 KoMTi 

music and singing, to the house prepared for his temporary lodging. 
This ceremony is known as Yadulukpdalu. The next day begins 
with Ghatikapuja (the worship of the time-indicating pot) and the 
distribution of 5 pieces of turmeric and oil to each family invited to 
attend the ceremony. The bride and bridegroom, in their respective 
houses, are smeared over with turmeric, the bridegroom a short while 
after the bride, a part of the turmeric used by the bride being sent 
for the use of the bridegroom. To wash this off is deemed very 
inauspicious to the bridal pair and they are not allowed to bathe 
until the day of the Naghali ceremony. As the auspicious moment 
for the wedding approaches, a procession is formed at the bride- 
groom's house and the boy, dressed in white, is pompously taken, 
on horseback, to the bride's house, holding in his right hand a 
nut-cutter {sarota) and a small bag containing the pusti (lucky string), 
toe-ring, bracelets, a sandal puppet, five pieces of cocoa-nut, five areca 
nuts and the jewels to be presented to the bride. At the entrance to 
the bride's house, a mixture of cooked rice and curds are waved round 
his face and then thrown to evil spirits to avert their baneful^ influence. 
Here, too, he is accorded a welcome by the bride "s father and con- 
ducted to a seat, specially prepared, under the wedding booth. As 
he enters the booth, he ties a piece of silk cloth to one of its posts. 
On being seated on a low wooden stool, he is offered madhuparka, 
or a mixture of honey and clarified butter, by his parents, in token of 
reception. He is, thereupon, invested with the sacred thread 
by his father, under the guidance of the family priest, a ceremony 
which is supposed to entitle him to take a wife and to enter upon his 
duties as a house-holder. The bride is now brought out, attired in 
white silk, her brow adorned with bashingams (paper ornaments) and 
is made to stand facing the bridegroom, the bridegroom also stand- 
ing; a silk curtain is interposed between them, auspicious verses are 
chanted by the priests and grains of rice are sprinkled over their heads 
by the Braihmans and by the assembly of men and women. This 
concluded, the bridal pair throw cumin seeds and jaggery three times 
on each other's heads and tread upon each other's feet, it being incum- 
bent on a man of the ' Pendlikulam ' gotra to hold their feet while this 
treading is being done. These ceremonies are known as /r/^ar- 



KoMTi 349 

belam and Padghattan respectively. The curtain being raised, the 
bridal pair are seated opposite each other, the bridegroom facing the 
east and the bride the west. It is now the turn of the bride's father 
to offer madhuparkfl to the bridegroom and invest him with the 
sacred thread. The Kanyadan ceremony, or 'the gift of the virgin," 
follows, at which the bridegroom places the bride's hand in the 
hollow of his own forming two cups, and the bride's mother pours 
cold water upon the palm of her husband, which he allows to drop 
into the bride's, from whence it trickles into the bridegroom's and 
falls into the plate below. The whole procedure symbolises that 
the bride has been, formally, presented by her father to the bride- 
groom who, on his part, has formally accepted the gift. At the 
Kankan Bandhanam ceremony, the kflnkancms (thread bracelets) and 
pusti (auspicious bead necklace) are placed in a dish, worshipped 
by the bridal pair and afterwards handed round to the guests to be 
touched and blessed by each of them ; when this is done the pusti 
is hung round the bride's neck by the bridegroom and the kflnkanams 
are fastened on their wrists by the family priest. The bride honours, 
with puja, the clothes and jewels presented to her by the bridegroom 
and, adorned in them, takes her seat to the left of her husband. 
Their clothes being tied in a knot, they throw rice three times over 
each other's heads. The guests, one by one, offer them each three 
handfuls of rice, the ceremony being termed takwal. Wedding 
presents are given to the newly married pair by their parents, relatives 
and friends, after which the family priest takes both the bride and 
the bridegroom outside the marriage panda] and points out to them 
the star " Arundhati " (the pole star) as an emblem of matrimonial 
virtue and constancy. The happy pair are then taken round to make 
obeisance to the family gods, their parents and relatives. After the 
distribution of pan-supari (betel-leaves and areca-nuts), attar and 
nosegays of flowers, all the men retire leaving the bride and bride- 
groom under the canopy. Women then come and perform their own 
peculiar ceremonies, playing various tricks on the couple, all of which 
may be summed up in one word A\alpohal. At the pota, or wed- 
ding feast, which is generally given on the second day after the 
wedding, relatives, friends and acquaintances are entertained at the 



350 KoMTi 

bride's house. This is followed, on the third day, by tt^ta, at which 
the newly wedded couple are perambulated, in a palanquin, through 
the town and led in procession to a garden outside. Here they 
make merry, nautch performances by dancing girls and feasting 
forming the order of the day. The procession returns to the bride's 
house by night. The ceremonies that are performed on the fourth 
day and subsequently, are described as follows : — 

Mailapolu. — The bride and bridegroom are seated on a square 
of rice, with a brass vessel filled with water at each of its corners. 
The vessels are encircled five times with a raw cotton thread. The 
bridal pair are smeared with oil by a barber and bathed by five 
married women in warm water. The bridegroom subsequently 
stooping over the bride, the water in the vessels is poured over 
them. The pair change their clothes and their wet clothes are given 
away to the barber. 

Sadasu or Alms-giving. — Alms are given by the bridegroom in 
the name of the 33 crores of gods, which comprise the Hindu 
pantheon. In counting the measures of alms, the bridegroom commits 
mistakes and his brother-in-law corrects him by gently striking him 
on the back. Much amusement ensues on the occasion. 

Wadabiyaram or Marine Trade. — Two toy boats, each made of 
16 grass sticks, are lighted with lamps, worshipped by the bridal 
pair and floated in water. 

Nagabali. — Under the booth, a platform is built with earth, 
brought in procession and with music from an ant-hill outside the 
village. Beautiful patterns in five different colours (white, yellow, 
red, green and black) are traced upon the platform, which is sur- 
rounded by five earthen potB encircled with cotton thread, and by 
conical heaps of food, topped with lighted lamps. In its centre, on 
two wooden planks, are seated the bride and bridegroom, facing 
towards the east. The parents of the bride march five times round 
the pair, her father bearing in one hand a bell, and in the other a sword, 
while her mother keeps pouring a stream of water on the sword all 
the time. At the end of the last round, they take with them the bride 
and bridegroom and walk straight into the house, none of them turning 
back to see the bali. The nagbali, viz., the food, pots, etc., is 



KoMTi 35 1 

claimed by a washerman and removed by him immediately. 

Panpu.^^The wedded couple are seated, face to face, on a cot 
under the booth, with twenty-one turmeric figures, representing Gour- 
amma, arranged in a row between them. Each figure is placed on two 
betel leaves, with a comb, turmeric and kpnkum powders, black bead 
necklaces, dry dates, cocoanut kernels, almonds and flowers before 
it. The bridal pair worship the deities, with the help of the family 
priest and, after the puja has been completed, present the figures, 
with their offerings, to "married females. This ceremony over, the 
young couple are made to play a drama of domestic life with the 
sandal wood doll (brought by the bridegroom from his house) as 
their child. The doll is placed in a cradle hung between the couple 
and is rocked to and fro while a lullaby is chanted by all the women 
present. After a while, the bride takes out the doll and hands it 
to her husband, asking him to take charge of it as she has to attend 
to domestic affairs ; but the bridegroom returns it to her on the plea 
that he has to mind his shop business. This incident is attended 
with a great deal of mirth and amusement among the assembly. 

Navagradha Puja, or the Worship of Nine Planets. — This cere- 
mony is performed in the god's chamber inside the house. A nose- 
ring is dropped in an earthen vessel and the couple are asked to 
pick it out. Whoever succeeds in first doing so is regarded as 
the cleverer of the two. As the couple enter the house for the 
performance of the preceding ceremony they are obstructed at the 
door by the bridegroom's sister, who demands her brother's first born 
daughter for her son, and lets them enter only after she has extracted 
a promise from them to tihat effect. 

Kankan Visarjan, or the Untying of the Wrist-threads. 

Opagantha, at which the bride is formally entrusted by her 
parents to the charge of her husband and his parents. 

Barat (Sade), or the bridal procession which conducts the bride- 
groom with his young wife to his house. 

Padbari Panduga, or the concluding ceremony m connection 
with marriage, performed on the 16th day after the wedding, when 
all the family members are entertained with a dish of rice termed 
aialu. 



352 KoMTi 

The auspicious months for the celebration of marriages are Mar- 
gashirsha, Magh, Falguna, Vaishakha and Jaishta. The bride's 
parents pay oara dakshina, or dowry, to the bridegroom amounting to 
Rs. 116, or to any higher sum, with however the figures 1 and 6 
as its last two digits, e.g., 216, 316, etc. Aged widowers are 
required to pay prices for brides which are proportional to the ages 
of the girls. 

Widow-marriage is not recognised by the caste. A woman 
taken in adultery, is expelled from the house and entirely ceases to 
be a member of her husband's family. A woman abandoned by her 
husband is not allowed to marry again. 

Inheritance — The Komtis follow the Hindu law of inherit- 
ance. At the time of the division of the property jaishta hhag, or an 
extra share, is paid to the eldest brother. 

Religion — The Komtis are orthodox Hindus and belong to the 
Vaishnava and Saiva sects. The worshippers of Vishnu distinguish 
themselves as Tirmanidharis and mark their foreheads with 
three vertical streaks of sandal paste, running from the root 
of the nose to the root of the hair. The devotees of Shiva are 
designated Vibhutidharis, or those who smear ashes of burnt cowdung 
on their foreheads. A few of the caste have joined the Lingayit sect 
and worship Mahadeo in the form of Lingam. These wear both the 
lingam (phalic symbol) and the sacred thread as badges of distinction. 
The characteristic deities of the caste are Nagareshwar and Kankan;- 
mawaru, whose chief temples are situated at Penukundapattan in the 
Godaveri district. On Makar Sankrant (the 12th or 1 3th of January) 
Kankammawaru or Kanyaka Parmeshwari is worshipped by all the 
members, men and women, with offerings of sweetmeats, flowers, 
cocoanuts, \unkum and other objects. The Komtis employ Brahmans 
in this, as well as in the worship of Vyakatswami, Raj Rajeshwar, 
Hanuman, Ganpati and other Brahmanical gods and in the perform- 
ance of their religious and ceremonial functions. The tuhi plant, 
or sacred basil [Odmnm sanctum), and the pipal (Ficm religiosa) 
are worshipped by women daily, the badh or banyan {Firus 
bengalensis) on the 15th of Jaisha and the shami (Prosopis spicigera) 
on the Dassera holiday. The cow is regarded as a sacred animal and 



' KoMTi 353 

is not used for labour of any kind. The only other animal that is res- 
pected is the serpent, worshipped annually on the lunar 5th of Shra- 
wana. But the deity most in favour is Kedari Gouramma, honoured 
by every Komti family on Sundays, Wednesdays or Fridays in the 
lunar half of the month of Kartika. On a spot of ground, plastered 
over with cowdung and painted with designs of powdered lime and 
kunkftTn, are placed two idols made of turmeric powder and milk and 
representing Gouri, the tonsort of Shiva. Bodices of women and 
robes of men and children, all newly made of white cloth, are 
placed in front of the deity. A married couple of the family observe 
a fast during the day and, under the presidency of a Brahman priest, 
worship the goddess in the evening with offerings of sweet cakes, betel- 
leaves and nuts, cocoanuts and other fruit, molasses and flowers, all 
deposited on twigs of the badh or banyan (Ficus bengalensis), and 
the tarvar (Cassia auriculata) trees. All the members of the family, 
are required to be present on the occasion and, as the worship is 
over, they dress themselves in the consecrated apparel and wear 
kankanams,-' or thread bracelets, on their wrists. In the month of 
Aswin, the Komti females worship Badakamma, or the image of 
Gouri, perched on a heap of a variety of flowers. Offerings of auspi- 
cious objects are made to the goddess by married women who, with 
arms linked, sing and dance round the sacred object in a large circle. 
The Badakamma is then led in solemn procession by the throng and 
thrown into a stream or tank. The Komtis believe in charms and 
sorcery cuid appease spirits and ghosts, to whose malignant influence 
are generally ascribed all incurable diseases and the maladies of 
children. 

Funeral Ceremonies The dead are burnt by the Namdharis 

and buried by the Vibhutidharis and the Raipak and Lingayit 
Komtis. When a Komti is on his death-bed, he is required to 
perform Pra^aschit, or the ceremony of expiation, which is supposed 
to deliver him from all sin. He is also made to bestow gifts, such 
as godan, or the gift of a cow, upon Brahmans. After death the 
body is washed, wrapped in a white cloth, laid on a bamboo bier 
and borne to the burning or burial ground by four men on their 
shoulders. The chief mourner, the son, or in default the nearest 

23 



354 KoMTi 

of kin, heads the funeral procession, bearing fire in an* earthen pot. 
On arrival, a funeral pyre is made and the corpse is laid on it with 
its head pointing to the south. A piece of gold and' iulsi leaves 
(the sacred basil) are put in its mouth. The chief mourner walks 
three times round the pyre, with a pot filled with water on his 
shoulder. At the end of the third round, he throws the pot on 
the ground and sets fire to the pile. When the body is completely 
consumed, the mourners bathe in a well, or a running stream, and 
return to the house of the deceased. Before return to their houses, the 
bier bearers have to look at a lamp lighted on the spot where the' dead 
person breathed his last. The ashes and bones are collected on the 
third day after death and either thrown into a holy river or, if 
circumstances do not permit, into any stream that is handy. The 
dead bodies of unmarried persons are carried suspended on a bamboo 
pole termed untipara and buried without any ceremony. The Lingayit 
Komtis carry their dead to the burial ground in a sitting posture. The 
corpse is seated in a niche carved out at one side .of the grave and is 
buried with a lingam placed in its left hand and brlva (yEgle 
Marmelos) leaves and vtbhvti (ashes) on its side. Agnate relatives of 
seven degrees are mourned for fifteen days. Mourning is observed 
three days for unmarried agnates and for such cognates as maternal 
grandfather, maternal grandmother, sister, daughter, mother-in-law, 
father-in-law, son-in-law and sister's son. Pindas, or balls of cooked 
rice, are offered for the benefit of the soul of the deceased generally 
on the fifteenth day after death. The funeral ceremonies followed 
by the Komtis, who aspire after the introduction of Vedic rites in 
their ritual, closely resemble those of the Brahmans and are giver 
as follows : — 

(1) Dahan, or the cremation of the corpse. 

(2) Sinchana, or the collection of the bones. 

(3) Kshaura, or the shaving of the beard and moustaches. 

(4) Nit\)a Karma, which is performed every morning during the 

period of mourning and consists of — 
(i) Sila-prasthapan. 
(ii) Mritika Snana. 
(iii) Waso-cla\a. 



KoMTi 355 

(iv) Tilodakfl. 
(v) Pinda-pradanam. 

(5) Ama Sradha. 

(6) Anhika. 

(7) Dosha Homa. 

(8) Shodasba Homa, or the last funeral sacrifice, on the per- 

formance of which the mourners are free from pollution 
and are ceremonially clean. 
On the 16th day, caste people are entertained at the house of the 
deceased. 

All the deceased ancestors are propitiated on the Pitra AmaWasya 
day, or on the 30th of Bhadrapad (middle of September), with offer- 
ings of til libations (water mixed with gingelly seeds). The Komtis 
celebrate monthly Sradha {masilzj during the first year and annual 
sradha every year subsequently. If the first wife dies, a small earthen 
pot (jagdi muntha) is set up in her name and worshipped annually, or 
periodically, by the second wife. 

A Kpmti widow removes the pusti (auspicious bead necklace) 
from her neck and breaks her bangles on the tenth day after the death 
of her husband. Children who die before teething are buried and not 
mourned. During the period of impurity, the mourners have to 
abstain from sleeping on a cot, eating sweet things, turmeric, betel- 
leaves and nut and even from smoking. 

Social StOitus — In point of social status the Komtis rank 
almost next to Brahmans. All the Telugu castes, except Brahmans, 
Panchdayi, Satani, Lingayits, Jangam, Tamadi, and Gandalas, eat 
kachi (cooked food) from their hands. They are vegetarians and 
abstain from liquors or other alcoholic drinks. They do not eat the 
leavings of higher castes. 

Occupation, — The original occupation of the caste was supposed 
to be trade, the rearing of cattle, and agriculture. The Komtis of 
the present day are mostly traders and are found engaged in banking, 
shop-keeping, money-lending and similar other professions. Some of 
them are land-holders and have acquired rights of permanent tenure ; 
but in this respect they cannot be reckoned as agriculturists, for they 
do not plough themselves but employ labour in cultivation. In most 



356 KoNm 

of the villages the Komtis are sahu\ars, or money-lenders to the 
agricultural classes, advancing money on the mortgage of lands at 
exorbitant rates of interest. The poorer members of the caste are 
cooks, confectioners and petty brokers and follow every pursuit 
deemed respectable. A few of them have entered Government 
service. 



LlII 

KUMMARA 

Kummara, Kumbhar, Kumbhakar — the potter caste of the 
Hyderabad Dominions, concerning whose origin differences of opinion 
prevail. According to some authorities, they are the descendants of 
a Brahman father and a Vaishya mother, while others make them 
the offspring of a Brahman father by a Kshatriya mother. The Kum- 
maras, themselves, claim to be descended from Shalivahan, a king of 
Paithan, who was said to be the son of a Brahman father, and a Kum- 
bhar mother. But it seems highly probable that, like other functional 
castes, this caste was also recruited from among different classes of 
Hindu society. The name Kummara, or Kumbhar, is derived from 
the Sanskrit ' Kumbhakar ' — ^umfc/ia- water jar and /jdi-maker. 

Internal Structure. — The caste has six endogamous divisions, 
(1) Shetti or Telaga, or Penta Kummara, (2) Balja, or Lingayit Kum- 
mara, (3) Bendar Kummara, (4) Dandu Kummara, (5) Maratha Kum- 
bhar, and Rane Kumbhar. The Shetti Kumiparas are found in the 
Telugu Districts and form the bulk of the caste. The Balja or 
Lingayit Kummaras are numerous in the Carnatic and are described 
in the report on the Lingayit sect ; they make bricks and tiles. The 
Bendar Kummaras were originally Bendars who adopted the pro- 
fession of potters and, consequently, separated from the parent tribe. 
The Dandu Kummaras are base-born and earn their bread by making 
plates of leaves and by buying manufactured jars from the other 
Kummara castes and selling them at a profit ; they also manufacture 
earthen vessels : the name 'Dandu ' means ' army ' and seems to 
have been applied to the members of this sub-caste as they were 
attached as potters to the imperial forces in ancient days. The 
Maratha Kumbhars are the potters of the Marathawada country. 
They speak Marathi and look like Maratha Kunbis. The Rane 



358 KUMMARA 

Kumbhars were originally Rajputs and have only recently taken to 
the occupation of a Kumbhar. 

As the sub-castes are territorial groups, each has its own exo- 
gamous sections, characteristic of the locality it occupies. The 
exogamous sections are based upon family names, and are either 
tenitorial or titular groups. Only a few of them are totemistic. 
The section names of the Balja Kummaras are derived from the 
names of the different gods they worship. Two families bearing the 
name of the same patron deity cannot intermarry. 
Section names of the Balja Kummaras — , 

Veerabhadradewaru. Lingadewaru. 

Shivadewaru. Mathadharidewaru. 

Ishv\'ardewaru. Rampadewaru. 

Madladewaru. Sograppadewaru. 

Exogamous divisions of the Chetti Kummaras — 

Rangamgiri. Pagdi. 

Kodisarlu. Mudunola. 

Domakunda. Nellotala. 

Puskur. Paralollu. 

Madugalollu. KannoUu. 

Some of these sections are totemistic, and the totem is taboo to the 
members of the section bearing its name. For example, the members 
belonging to the ' Koyigarwaru ' section, abstain from eating kp^ja 
greens, (Portulaca oleracea) and those of the ' Gomadpalliwandlu ' 
section from eating gomad, (Leucas linifolia). 
Section names of the Maratha Kummaras — 

Chavgule. Vagule. 

Mhetre. Urleker. 

Saswadker. Ghodke. 

Exogamous sections of the Rane Kumbhars — 

Varvade. Thakur. 

Kotangane. Patal. 

Girwala. Vani. 

The rule of exogamy is carefully observed and a man cannot marry 
outside the sub-caste and within the section to which he belongs. 
He may marry two sisters. He may also marry the daughters of 



KUMMARA 359 

his maternal uncle and elder sister, but he cannot marry the daughters 
of his patornal and maternal aunts. Exchange of daughters is 
allowed. Outsiders are not admitted into the caste. 

Marriage — The Telugu Kummaras marry their daughters as 
infants between the ages of 2 and 12 years and social reproach 
attaches to the parents of a girl who attains puberty before marriage. 
Among the Maratha and Rane Kumbhars, girls are married either 
as infants, or as adults, and if a girl becomes pregnant before 
marriage th? father of ker child is compelled to marry her. Imme- 
diately after marriage, the girl is sent to her husband's house. 

•The marriage ceremony of the Kumbhars differs for different 
sub-castes, but materially conforms to the usage current among the 
local castes of about the same social standing. The Telugu 
Kummars regard Kanyadan and Pusli Mittalu, the wearing of mangal- 
sutra by the bride, to be the binding portion of the ceremony, while 
among the Maratha Kumbhars, Saptapadi, or the seven rounds made 
about the sacrificial fire, render the marriage irrevocable. The Rane 
KumbhMs marry their girls after the fashion of the Northern India 
castes and. deem Mnndha, or the practice of walking five times round 
the sacred post of mowha, to be the essential part of the ritual. Poly- 
gamy is permitted and no theoretical limit is set to the number of 
wives a man may have. 

Gensral. — It is customary among the Telugu and the Maratha 
Kummaras, to devote their daughters to the service of temples and 
deities in pursuance of vows made in affliction or difficulty. Such 
girls Eire called Basavis or Murlis ; after dedication they live in the 
houses of their peurents and consort openly with members of their 
caste or of higher castes. A Basavi girl inherits her father's property 
in equal shares with his sons. 

Widows are allowed to marry again and divorce is permitted. 

In matters of inheritance the Kumbhars follow the Hindu law. 
In default of male issue in the family, females inherit. The eldest 
son gets 25% in addition to his own share. 

A woman in child-birth is impure for seven days. 

Brahmans are employed as priests in marriages, and Jangams 
or Ayyawars serve them in death rites. 



360 KUMMARA 

Religion. — The patron deity of the Telugu Kumbhars is 
Pochamma, to whom they offer various sacrifices. G'enerally, the 
members of the caste officiate as priests, or pujaris, to Nala Pochamma 
(the deity presiding over black smallpox), Avra Pochamma (the 
goddess of smallpox), Mahakali (the goddess of cholera), Idamma, 
Mutyalamma, Maisamma and other animistic deities, and sacrifices of 
sheep, goats and fowls are offered to tlfem on Sundays generally. 
The heads of the animals are given to chakjas and mangalas. Some- 
times, buffaloes are offered to the deities and are afterwards claimed 
by the malas and madigas of the village. Almost all the gods of 
the Hindu pantheon are held in great reverence by the members of 
the caste. On the Ganesh Chouth day, they worship the imple- 
ments of their craft with offerings of sweetmeat and flowers. At the 
Divali festival, the females adore Gowri, the consort of Siva, with 
the help of a Brahman, the ceremony being called NaWam. Balamma 
and Dancima, who are supposed to trouble infants, are also appeased. 
Ancestral worship prevails and is performed on every Amawasya 
day. When a new ancestor is installed, caste .people are enter- 
tained at a feast. 

Kurbhan is the patron deity of the Rane Kumbhars. Like 
other Hindus, they make pilgrimages to Kasi. They observe all 
Hindu festivals and worship the Hindu gods. 

Disposal of the Dead — The dead are usually buried, but are 
occasionally burnt with the head towards the south and the face 
turned towards the east. The ashes and bones, in the case of 
cremation, are thrown into a river or buried under a tree. Mourning 
is observed for ten days for the married, and 3 days for the 
unmarried and infants. All the rites conform to those of the lower 
castes of Telingana. On the Pitra Amawas^a day, alms are given 
in the names of the dead ancestors. Vaishnava Kummaras perform 
the Sradba ceremony. Nearly a month after death, the Saivaits 
perform the ceremony called Pinnamma and hang bells made of 
flowers in temples. 

Occupation — The occupation of the caste is to manufacture 
pottery, big and small earthen ware, bricks and tiles. The imple- 
ments are the potter's wheel, a ball and a wooden mallet. A spade 



KUMMARA 361 

is used to pound earth. Black or red earth is used to make earthen 
vessels, which are first made on the wheel and then moulded and 
beaten into the requisite shape by women. The Bendar Kummaras 
make tiles and bricks. The Dandu Kummaras purchase earthen ware 
ready made from the Chetti and Rane Kummaras and sell them at a 
small profit. Formerly, the Kummaras did not know the art of 
burning the pots and the people used unburnt earthen vessels. 
Once, one Kummara Gondaya, or " Gonda Brahma ' as he is nick- 
named, while making pots, applied a quantity of spittle to it as 
he had no water at hand. God was displeased with this impious 
act and ordered that the pots should be purified by baking. Ever 
since then the baking process has been brought into use. 

Social Status. — The social status of the caste differs for 
different sub-castes. The Balja Kummaras, being Lingayits, hold 
the highest rank in the community. But the entire caste takes rank 
just below the Kapus and Velmas and above the Mangalas and the 
Chaklas. The Balja Kummaras eat only from the hands of 
Lingayits, Jangams, Lingayit Kapus and Balijas ; the Chetti 
Kummaras eat ^ac/if from the hands of Brahmans, Komtis, Satanis, 
Jangams, Baljas, Kapus and Velmas. All castes, except Brahmans 
and Komtis, eat sweetmeats from the hands of this caste. Jangams, 
Kapus, Sales, Kurumas and other inferior castes eat kflchi from the 
Balja Kummaras. The Telugu and Maratha Kummaras eat mutton, 
pork, fowl and fish and the flesh of small cloven-footed animals. 
They indulge in spirituous and intoxicating liquors. The Rane 
Kumbhars will not eat fowls. Any earthen vessel containing water 
is broken and thrown away if it is touched by a hen. The Balja 
Kummaras, being Lingayits by creed, abstain from eating flesh 
and drinking wine. They drink water in which a Jangam s feet 
have been washed and eat the leavings of a Jangam. Social disputes 
are referred for decision to a council of the caste presided over by 
a chief called chatidhari. 



LIV 

KURUMA 
(Title : Goucf.) 

Kuruma — the shepherd, goat-herd and 'blanket- weaver caste of 
Telingana, corresponding to the Kuruba of the Karnatic and the 
Kurumba of the Tamil country. These tribes probably belonged to 
riie same original stock, for they closely resemble one another in their 
features and complexion and in some of their customs and usages. 
The names ' Kuruma ' and ' Kuruba ' seem to be variants of the 
Tamil ' Kurumba ' , the first being formed by the dropping of the 
letter ' b ' and the second by the dropping of the ' m.' All the 
names are said to be derived from the word ' kuri ' meaning a sheep. 

The Kurumas bear the honorific title ' GoudJ attached to their 
names, concerning the origin of which they have a very curious 
legend. Once upon a time, Beerappa, their patron god, had a 
desire for strong drink, but being short of money had to procure 
liquor from a goundala (a liquor vendor) by pledging his moustaches. 
In a few days, Beerappa offered to redeem the pledge, but the 
moustaches had already disappeared from the goundala's possession, 
being surreptitiously made away with by a squirrel at the god s 
command. The goundala was thereupon compelled to part with his 
title ' Goud ' to the Kurumas. 

Origin — The Kurumas trace their descent from their tribal god 
Mallanna, who was fabled to have originally been a Kapu by caste 
but subsequently made the god of shepherds by Mahadeva. Once 
Mallanna, having ploughed his farm, collected the rubbish and 
disposed of it by burning it on an ant-hill. Two sheep had already 
been sheltered by Parvati in the ant-hill and, being oppressed by the 
intense heat of the fire, they came out and solicited Mallanna for 
protection. Mallanna reluctantly consented and desired them to 
follow him to his dwelling. On arrival at his .house, he found that 



KuRUMA 363 

the sheep had multiplied into thousands. Dismayed and confused 
at this singular development, he appealed for relief to the god 
Siva, who came down from Kailas, transformed him into a god, 
and assigned to him the duties of presiding over the destinies of the 
shepherd class. 

Internal Structure — The Kurumas are divided into 3 sub- 
castes : Patti Kankan Kuruiha, Uni Kankan Kuruma and Ugad. The 
last of these are socially jnferior to the other two sub-castes and make 
their living by officiating as priests to the Kurumas and by begging 
only from them. The Patti Kurumas are so called because they use 
wedding bracelets of cotton thread (patti) while the name ' Uni 
Kuruma ' is derived from the word uni (wool) and refers to the 
custom of the sub-caste of fastening bracelets of woollen thread on 
the wrists of the bride and bridegroom at their wedding. The origin 
of these usages is obscure. The Kurumas aver that Mallanna had two 
wives, one Padmakshi (lotus-eyed), a Kapu girl who was married in 
accordance with the usual Kapu usage of fastening thread bracelets 
on the wrists of (he bridal pair. The other wife was Ratnangi 
(resplendent as gems), the daughter of a Brahman woman who, while 
pregnant, was devoured by a Rakshashi. The Rakshashi brought 
up the new-born girl until she came of age. One day Mallanna, 
while grazing his flock in the jungle, where the girl dwelt, observed 
her and was so struck with her beauty that he fell in love with her. 
He killed the demon and married the girl, but the wedding bracelets 
on this occasion were made of wool instead of cotton, which could 
not be procured in the jungle. Hence Mallanna's descendants by 
Ratnangi have been distinguished from those by Padmakshi by the 
name uni (wool) Kuruma and are said to hold a position superior 
to that of the latter. 

In the Karnatic the caste has four divisions : Hatti Kankan 
Kuruma, Uni Kankan Kuruma, or Kurbur, Lingayit Kurbur and Beer- 
lods. The Beerlods are priests of Birbhadra and subsist by beggmg 
from the other sub-castes. The Hatti Kankan Kurburs and Uni 
Kankan Kurburs are identical respectively with the Patti Kurumas 
and Uni Kurumas of Telingana and have the same badges of distinc- 
tion as the latter, the Hati (cotton) Kankan Kurburs wearing cotton 



364 KuRUMA 

thread bracelets at a wedding while the Uni Kankan Kurburs put on 
wedding bracelets of wool. The Lingayit Kurburs are converts to 
Lingayitism from the Kurbur caste. Regarding the origin of this 
sub-caste a story is told that Mallanna once met Basava, the founder 
of the Lingayit sect, and was converted by him to his faith. The 
progeny of Mallanna, subsequent to this event, became Lingayits 
by creed. ' 

These legends seem to suggest that the Kurumas were a mixed 
people, recruited from the Kapu and other castes. There is, how- 
ever, no independent evidence to support this view. 

The Kurumas are broken up into a large number of exogamous 
sections, which are partly of the territorial and partly of the tote- 
mistic type. In very few instances only are the totems observed as 
taboos ; as, for instance, the members of the ' Myakalollu ' (Myakfl — 
sheep) section abstain from eating sheep and those of the ' Mityal- 
awandlu (Mityal — pepper) from using the pepper; but, in general, the 
totems have lost their significance to the members of the sections bear- 
ing their names. The members of the caste assert that they have only 
one gotra, 'Chandesha' or ' Choundesha ', which, is, however, only 
ornamental and has no bearing upon the regulation of their marriages. 

The section name goes by the male side and a Kuruma is prohi- 
bited from marrying outside the sub-caste, or within the section to 
which he belongs. This rule of exogamy is supplemented, and a 
man cannot marry the daughters of his maternal and paternal aunts. 
He may marry the daughters of his maternal uncle or of his elder 
sister. He may marry in the sections to which his mother or his 
father's mother belongs. Two sisters may be married to the same 
man, provided the elder is married first. Two brothers may also 
marry two sisters. Exchange of daughters is allowed by the caste. 

Marriage — The Kurumas marry their daughters both as infants 
and as adults, but the former practice is deemed the more respectable 
and is followed by the majority of the caste. The custom of 
dedicating girls to temples survives among some of the Kurumas. 
The girls thus dedicated are married to the image of Mallanna, or 
to a sword. The dedicated girl is taken before the image, or is 
seated by the side of a sword, and wedded to either as if it were 



KuRUMA 365 

the bridegroom, the ceremony in this case closely resembling that 
of the real marriage current among the caste. The Basavis, as these 
girls are afterwards called, are allowed to remain in their parents' 
houses and can cohabit either with the members of their own 
caste or of higher castes. Girls for whom husbands cannot be 
procured are also dedicated to gods. Polygamy is permitted and 
there is no rule limiting the number of wives a man may have. 

The marriage ceremony of the Uni Kurburs is described below, 
the distinction between the Uni Kurburs and the Patti Kurburs being 
only in the nature of their kan\mams, or wedding bracelets. The 
negotiations for marriage are opened by the boy's party and, after the 
girl has been selected, the parents of the bridegroom go to see her 
and present her with betel-leaves and areca-nuts. On this occasion, 
a feast is given by the bride's people, at which ghi, \ichari 
and sugar are provided and Rs. 21 are presented to the bride. 
Five oi six days later, the girl's parents visit the boy and are enter- 
tained at a feast. If both parties are satisfied with the match, the 
boy's people go to tlie bride's house and present her with a new sari 
and choli, nine pieces of cocoanut kernel, fifteen seers of rice and 
Rs. 14, which constitute the bride-price. On the day before the 
wedding, the bridegroom's party escort the bride and her parents to 
the bridegroom's house and stop on the way at Maruti's temple. 
Here the fathers of the bride and bridegroom and their relatives 
meet and embrace one another. From this place, the procession 
marches to the bridegroom's house, where a wedding pandal of five 
pillars (the middle one being made from the wood of the banyan tree, 
Ficus bengalensis) has already been erected and Birappa and Laxmi, 
their tutelary deities, worshipped under it. At night, the bride and 
bridegroom are smeared with oil and turmeric peiste and bathed 
simultaneously. Next morning the deva decaka, or earthen vessels, 
are brought from the potter's house by five married women, established 
under the pandal and besmeared with lines of chtmam (lime). 
The portion of the wall where the bridegroom is to be seated is 
whitewashed and decorated with a design of bashingams. Out of 
the five pots brought from the potter, the one containing areca-nuts, 
two betel leaves, dates, a cocoanut and a pice, is taken in procession 



366 KuRUMA 

to a well, there filled with water, after the well has been worshipped 
by burning incense, and then brought to the booth. Underneath the 
booth, the other four pots are arranged so as to form a square and 
woollen thread is wound round them. The bride and bridegroom are 
seated within, smeared with oil and turmeric and bathed with warm 
water, with which the v/ater previously brought from the well has 
been mixed. The woollen thread is the'n taken off and tied to the 
banyan pillar of the booth. The bride an4 bridegroom are dressed 
in new clothes, adorned with kcnh^ns and bashmgams, and taken 
to the deOaka, near which an earthen platform has been erected. 
They are seated on a blanket spread over the platform and orna- 
mented with lines of coloured rice. Then, in the presence of 
the assembled guests, who bless the couple and touch the mangahutra, 
the Brahman priest repeats mantras and ties the consecrated mangal- 
sutra round the bride's neck. After this, the bride and bridegroom 
are made to stand facing each other, each in a basket containing jaWari 
grains. A piece of cloth is held between them and the Brahman, 
uttering mantras, throws rice on their heads. All the^ assembled 
guests follow his example and, subsequently, the bride and bride- 
groom also throw rice on each other's head. Kan])adan and Kan\an- 
bandhan follow and are celebrated on the lines followed by other 
castes. The bridegroom, taking the bride in his arms, goes to the 
gods' room, and bows to the gods and to the elderly members 
of the family. Pan-supari is distributed and the assembly disperses. 
On the evening of the same day a piece of cloth is spread underneath 
the booth and a large quantity of food containing cooked rice and 
puris is placed over it. The women sing songs and four women and 
five men eat some of the food, the remainder being distributed among 
the relatives. This ceremony is termed Bhuma. Next morning, 
the bride and bridegroom are led on a bullock to Hanuman's temple, 
where cocoanuts are broken and the god is worshipped. On the 
third day, the parents of the bride take her to their house. On the 
fifth day, Beerappa is worshipped with offerings of sweets, the 
kankans are untied and the wedding booth is dismantled. This 
completes the marriage proceedings. 

The marriage ceremony of the Telugu Kurumas does not differ 



KuRUMA 367 

materially from that in practice among other Telugu castes of the 
same social standing. It comprises, as among the Kapu caste, the 
following rites, which are merely enumerated in the order in which they 
are performed — Vadibi^am, PapaWanam, Raoireni, Yadrukpdalu, 
Mailapolu, Lagnam, Kanyadan, Padghattan, jiraguda, Pusii Mittala 
(the tying of mangalsutra round the bride's neck which is deemed 
to be the essential portion' of the ceremony), Kankanam, Bashingam, 
Talwdl, Brahmcmodi, ^agvellp, Polu (cotton thread in the case of 
the Patti Kurmas and woollen in that of the Uni Kurmas is wound 
rouijjJ the Polu and at the time of walking round it the bridegroom is 
given \aduru and the bride hads in their hands), Vappagintha, 
Amndhatidarshanam, Panpu and Vadibi^um Sari. Mallanna is 
worshipped before marriage and Beerappa after its completion. The 
bridegroom is presented with a dress by the bride's father. A 
bride-price amounting to Rs. 12 is paid to the parents of the girl. 

Widow=Marriage — A widow is allowed to marry again, but 
she is not expected to marry her late husband's younger or elder 
brother. .She must also avoid all relations which come under the 
prohibited relationship. The ceremony is simple and consists in 
escorting the bride, at night, to the bridegroom's house and tying the 
mangalsutra round her neck. A widow, on remarrying, is required 
to return the ornaments given to her by her first husband. 

Divorce Divorce is permitted, with the sanction of the caste 

Pancha^at, on the ground of adultery on the part of the wife. The 
husband removes the upper garment from oif her head and drives 
her out of the house. Divorced women are allowed to marry again 
by the same rites as widows. Adultery on the part of a woman with 
a man of a lower caste is punished with expulsion from her own caste. 

Inheritance In matters of inheritance the Kurumas follow the 

Hindu law. Females inherit in default of any male issue in the 
family. It is said that the eldest son gets five sheep, or Rs. 25, m 
addition to his own share. Basavi girls claim the same share in their 
father's property as the sons. 

Religion In respect of religion, the Kurumas are divided be- 
tween Tirmanidharis (Vaishnavas) and Vibhutidharis (Saivas). Some 
of them are the followers of the Lingayit sect and abstain from flesh 



368 KuRUMA 

and wine. Their favourite object of worship is Mallanna, to whom 
offerings of sheep, goats and sweetmeats are made in the months of 
Aswin, Margashirsha and Magha. Beerappa, their guru, is honoured 
in the months of Kartika and Magha with the sacrifice of sheep, the 
offerings being subsequently eaten by the members of the household. 
Beerlods and Uglods officiate as priests in the worship of these gods. 
Among their minor deities are Pochamm'a, Elamma, Rajamma and 
Mariamma, propitiated with a variety of offerings. A man of the 
Kummara caste officiates at the worship of these deities. The 
members of the caste worship also the greater gods of the pan^eon 
and observe all the Hindu festivals. Mohamedan pits are also duly 
reverenced by them. Brahmans are employed for the marriage cere- 
mony. The Kurumas have a strong belief in ghosts and evil spirits, 
identify them with the help of Erakala women and appease them 
with various offerings. An oath on the name of their guru Beerappa 
is deemed very sacred by them. 

Disposal of the Dead — The dead are buried in a lying 
posture, with the head pointing to the south. The Lingayit Kurumas 
bury their dead in a sitting posture, with the face to the north. 
After life is extinct, the corpse is washed, dressed in new clothes and 
borne, on the shoulders, to the grave. On the 3rd day after death, 
a goat is sacrificed on the burial ground. The flesh is cooked, 
offered at the grave, and thrown to the birds. The unmarried dead 
are disposed of without any rites or ceremonies. If a wealthy man 
dies unmarried, a curious ceremony is performed, which entitles him 
to the full funeral rites. As soon as the man breathes his last, his 
body is washed with water and canied to the temple of Beerappa. 
Four vessels are arranged in a square and a thread is wound round 
them. The body is seated within this, with a bashmgam tied to its 
forehead and a stick of amaya wood in its hand. To this stick 
is tied a handkerchief with five knots. A number of sheep and goats 
are killed before the god and the members of the caste present, are 
feasted. After the performance of this ceremony the dead man is 
buried as if he had been manied in life. Mourning is observed ten 
days for the married and three days for the unmarried. No Sradha 
is performed by the members of the caste. On the Pitra Amawas^a, 



KuRUMA 369 

or the last day of Bhadrapad (September-October), alms are given to 
Brahmans and Jangams. In the month of Shravana the deceased first 
wife of a man is appeased by his second wife if alive. The dead 
wife is represented by an earthen pot, which is known as Pyarantal 
or Korati Ellama. 

Social Status. — In point of social standing, the Kurumas rank 
above the Manglas emd 'Chaklas and below the Kapus, Gollas, 
Mutrasis and Satanis, from whose hands they eat kflchi. They eat 
mutton, pork, fowl, venison and drink spirituous and fermented 
liquors. They do not eat the leavings of any caste. 

Occupation. — The majority of the caste are engaged in their 
traditional occupation of tending sheep and goats and weaving 
blankets (kamhlis). Some of them weave very fine blankets which 
fetch more than Rs. 15 apiece. They deal in sheep's milk, which 
is largely used by villagers, being cheap and deemed very nourishing. 
The cultivators purchase, from them, sheep's manure, which is 
regarded as of high quality. A few of the Kurumas have taken to 
cultivation and are pattedars and shikamidars of Government land. 
A few hold inam lands. The poorer members work as day 
labourers, cartmen and hamals (coolies). 

The females of the caste do not wear head ornaments, but have 
their faces and arms tattooed in different patterns. 



24 



LV 

KURMI •' 

Kunni, Kurmi Kshatriya, Kunbi — a very large landholding and 
cultivating caste of Northern India supposed to have come into these 
dominions as soldiers early in the seventeenth century. During the 
wars of Aurangzeb with the Bijapur and Golconda kingdoms, and 
subsequently with the Marathas, they enlisted in the Moghal army and 
held posts of honour as hajaris, suhedars and jamadars, or as com- 
mandants of the different forts and districts which were conquered 
and annexed by the Moghals. Since their disbandment, after the 
death of Aurangzeb, they have settled down as peaceful cultivators, 
their ranks being recruited by fresh immigrants from Upper India. 

Origin — The Kurmis of this State allege that thfey are the 
direct descendants of the well-known Kshatriya dynasties of early 
Indian tradition, and, in support of this claim, refer to the fact that 
the term ' Kurmi ' was borne, as a title, by the princes Vivashwan 
(son of Manu) and Sharyati of the solar race, and by the lunar kings 
Yadu and Kuntibhoja.l 

It was the designation of a son of the solar king Sumitra 2 and 
of the son of Gritsamad, author of several hymns of the Rigoeda. ^ 
The famous Chauhan king Prithvi Raj of Delhi and his descendants, 
Jagatsing and Jaising, were also distinguished as Kurmis. * 
Agreeably to this tradition the Kurmis derive their name from the 
word ' Kurma ' occurring in the Rigoeda ^ and Shatapath Brahman, ^ 
and meaning ' Lord, Master, Powerful,' etc. 

The physical appearance of the Kurmis tends to support the 

1 Shania Puran, Sahyadri Khand, Adhyaya 33. 

2 Vansha Bhaskar, p. 1013. 

3 Vishnu Puran IV, Adhyaya 8, Shlok 1. 

4 Prithoi Raj Rayasa, Jaga Vinoda and Kalpdruma. 

5 Mandala VIII, Sukta 66, Hymn 12 ; Mandala III, Sakta 30, Hymn 3. 

6 Khanda VII, Adhyaya 5, Brahmans. 



KuRMi 371 

view of their .Kshatriya origin. They are tall, well made, with 
regular features and generally fair complexions. " The Kurmi has," 
says the Revd. Sherring (" Tribes and Castes ", Vol. Ill, p. 258), 
" a strong, bony hand, natural to a man of his employment. He is 
frequently tall and powerful ; manly, outspoken and independent in 
manner, and is altogether free from cringing obsequiousness." Colonel 
Dalton regards them as the descendants of some of the earliest Aryan 
colonists, ' a brown, tawfly coloured people, of an average height, 
well proportioned and with a fair amount of good looks. 
They iiow well-shaped heads and high features, and, except when 
they have obviously intermixed with aborigines, they are, unques- 
tionably, Aryan in looks. Grey eyes and brownish hair are some- 
times met with amongst them. The women usually have small and 
well-formed hands and feet." (" Ethnology of Bengal ", p. 320.) 
Sir George Campbell, speaking of the Kurmis of Hindustan, says 
they are on an average darker and less good looking than the 
Brahmans and Rajpujs, but still quite Aryan in their features, insti- 
tutions and 'manners. ("Ethnology of India", p. 92.) "In 
Gorakhpur are found the Patanwar Saithwars, whom Dr. Buchanan 
identifies with the Audhias of Behar, who claim to be of the highest 
dignity and of the purest blood." (Crooke's "Tribes and Castes 
of the North West Provinces and Oudh.") 

The foregoing description holds good as regards the Kurmi* 
of this State who are, on the whole, a fine manly race, conforming 
to the usages and manners of Brahmans, wearing the sacred thread, 
and forbidding their widows to re-marry. An examination of the 
exogamous sections into which they are divided, seems to tell strongly 
in favour of the hypothesis that they have sprung from the same original 
stock as the Rajputs. The section names, a list of which is given at 
the tonclusion of this article, correspond to, or closely resemble, those 
current among the Rajputs. Putting even tradition aside and looking, 
on the one hand, to the physical type of the Kurmis and, on the other, 
to their internal organisation, it would appear that their claim to a 
Kshatriya descent cannot be wholly rejected. 

Internal Structure. — No information is available regarding the 
endogamous divisions of the caste. The exogamous sections, as 



372 KuRMi 

shown below, are of two different types — one original and the 
other borrowed from the Brahmans. Only the original or the tribal 
series is taken into account for purposes of marriage. The rule 
is absolute that a man may not marry a woman of the same tribal 
section as himself ; but the fact that two persons belong to the same 
Brahmanical gotra does not operate as a bar to intermarriage, pro- 
vided that their tribal sections are different. Apart from the section 
rule, prohibited degrees are reckoned on the system in vogue among 
the Kanojia Brahmans. A man may marry two sisters, but he must 
lake them in order of age, and he cannot marry the eldgr sister 
if he is already married to the younger. Two brothers can marry two 
sisters, the elder marrying the elder sister and the younger marrying the 
younger one. Polygamy is permitted, theoretically, to any extent, 
but in practice a man takes a second wife only if the first is barren or 
suffers from an incurable disease. 

Marriage. — Girls are married before they attain puberty, 
between the ages of nine and twelve. Immediately after marriage, 
i.e., on the third day after the ceremony, the bride goes^in procession, 
with her husband, to his house, but is brought back again to her 
father's house on the fifth day after the ceremony. But the final 
ceremony (Gauna), by which she is made over to her husband, may 
take place one yeeir, three years or five years after the regular 
marriage. That is to say, if the husband does not claim his wife after 
the expiration of one year, he must wait three years, and if he does 
not come forward then, he must wait five years. This custom pre- 
vails among most of the higher castes in Northern India. Another 
ceremony known as Raoana takes place when the bride goes to live 
with her husband the third time, and is generally performed after the 
girl has attained puberty. 

The marriage ceremony is of the orthodox type in use Jipiong 
the higher castes of Northern India, the essential portions 
being Sindmian, or the smearing of vermilion on the parting 
of the bride's hair, and Bhonvari, or the seven circuits taken by the 
bridal pair round the milk-post and the sacred fire ; the bridegroom 
leads in the first six circuits and the bride in the last one. This 
is followed by Kan^adan, or the presentation of the bride to the 



KuRMi 373 

bridegroom and his acceptance of her. A feast to the members 
of the caste concludes the ceremony. The marriage takes place at 
night and, before the bridegroom starts in the wedding procession to 
the bride's house, a ceremony known as Durga Jcmeo Sanskar is per- 
formed, when he is invested with the sacred thread by a Brahman 
priest. 

The re-marriage of widows is strictly forbidden among the 
Kurmis of this place. Divorce is also prohibited and if a woman is 
taken in adultery she is' summarily expelled from the caste. If, 
however, a married couple cannot live in harmony together, a separa- 
tion is* arrived at by mutual consent. In such cases, the wife returns 
to her father's house and the husband marries again. 

Religion. — ^The religion of the Kurmis does noti differ materially 
from that of the highest Hindu castes in Northern India. Votaries are 
found among them of the main Hindu sects — Vaishnava, Saiva, Sakta 
and the like. For religious and ceremonial observances, they employ 
Kanojia Brahmans, who are received on equal terms by other members 
of the sacred order. , The dead are burned in a lying posture and the 
ashes are collected on the third day after death and thrown into the 
river Ganges or any other sacred stream. On the eleventh day after 
death, the mourners shave their heads and offer libations of water in 
the name of the deceased. Sradha is performed on the 12th day 
after death and on the thirteenth a feast is given to the Brahmans of 
the neighbourhood. In the first or third year after death, the chief 
mourner makes a pilgrimage to Gaya and performs the Sradha cere- 
mony there for the benefit of the soul of the deceased. 

Social Status. — The social status of the Kurmis is respectable. 
They will eat kflchi food cooked only by a Kanojia Brahman, who is 
their family priest. All castes, including Brahman, will eat pakk> 
food from their hands. 

Occupation The characteristic occupation of the Kurmi caste 

is that of settled agriculturists. They are very tenacious of their 
ancestral holdings and seldom alienate rights in land unless under the 
greatest pressure of circumstances. The great majority of the caste 
are occupancy or non-occupancy raiats and a few have risen to be 
zamindars. Some have, in recent years, taken to trade and learned 



374 



KURMI 



pursuits. As a class, they are a most peaceable set of men and 
have always been remarkable for their loyalty to the ruling power. 

THE ANCESTORS OF THE THREE SECTIONS OF 
KURMI KSHATRIYAS. 



Shukia Vamsha. 



Note 



2. 
3. 
4. 
5. 
6. 
7. 
8. 

9. 
10. 
II. 
12. 
13. 
14. 
15. 
16. 
17. 
18. 
19. 
20. 
21. 
22. 
23. 
24. 
25. 
26. 
27. 
28. 
29. 
30. 
1. 
2. 
3. 
4. 
5. 



Name. 
Shukla 
Vishvaksen 
Jaisen 
Visen 
Piamoda 
Sindhu Varma 
Sindhu Dwipa 
Shree Pati 

Bhuja Varma 
Ran Varma 
Chitra Varma 



Residence. 
Dwarakapuri. 



Sind Desha, c 

Kachha and Shreepab' 

Desha. 

Bhuja Desha. 



Sachitrapur. 
Udayapur. 



Dharma Varma 
Krishna Varma 
Udaya Varma 
Vapya Varma 
Valada 

Guhi! 

Kalbhoja 

Rastrapal 

Prajai (Jaipal ) 

Krita or Venuka 

Yasho Vigrah 

Mahi Chandra 

Chandradea 
Mandapal 
Kumbhapa) 
Deopal 

Jaichandra and Ratnabhanu 

Lakham, son of Ratna Bhanu 
Vaisya Pal 

Vishvaksen Vamsha arose from Vishvaksen. 

Guhila Vamsha arose from Guhila. 

Rastrapal Vamsha arose from RastrapaL 

Vaisya Vamsha arose from Vaishapal. 

Rana Vamsha arose from Rana Varma. (Maharaja Rana Pratap 

Smgh of Udaipur belongs to this section of Kurmis.) 



Mahoba-Mahavati. 
ICannauja. 

f * 
Vigrahapur_ 
Aryadesh. 



Rajaniyanagiri. 



KURMI 



375 



6. Mahala arose from Yasobigraha. 

7. Kalhi S!ngh. 

8. {)van<la. 

9. Shuklaha. 

10. Yashobigrah, the twenty-second Raja of Shukla Vamsha, inhabited 
Bigrahpur in Baiswara and building the palaces (mahal) there 
put up his family members in them. Since then his family 
members and descendants have been called " Mahalaha," 

Pramar Vamsha. 
Name. ■ Residence. 

1. Pramai Umbavati (Ujjain). 

2. Mahamar *. 

3. Devaya 

4. Deoduta 

5. Gandharvasen 

6. Vikramaditya ... 

7. Deobhakta 

8. Shalibahan 

9. Shalihotra 

10. Shalibardan 

1 1 . Shaka hanta 

12. Suhotra 

13. Havihotra 

14. Endrapal' Indravatipura. 

15. "Malyavan Malyavatipur. 

16. Shambhu Dutta 

17. Bhomaraja 

18. Vatsaraja 

19. Bhojaraja 

20. Shambhu Dutta 

21. Bindupal 

22. Rajpal 

23. Ahinai 

24. Saumvarma 

25. Kama Varma 

26. Bhumipal 

27. Rangapal 

28. Kalpa Singh 

29. Ganga Singh ... 

1. Yuga Mahatma. 

2. Jagannathi. 

3. Vivahlta. 

4. Hatath Grihita. 
Note • Ganga Singh, the last king of 

Kunikshetra ; his descendant, Yuga Varma, 
famed with the appellation of Mahatma. 



Kalpa Nagar. 



this Vamsha, was 
inhabited Chamyani 



killed in 
and was 



376 



KURMI 



1. 

2. 

3. 

4. 

5. 

6. 

7. 

8. 

9. 
10. 
11. 
12. 
13. 
14. 
15. 
16. 
17. 
18. 
19. 
20. 
21. 
22. 
23. 
24. 
25. 
26. 
27. 
28. 
29. 
30. 



Parihar Vamsha. 
Name. 
I. Parihar. (He had two sons) 

(1) Gaui Vacma ... 

(2) Ghoia Vanna 

(I) Gaur Vamsha. 

Name. 
Supama 
Rupuna 



Kar Varma 
Kam Varma < 
Bhoga Varma 
Kali Varma 
Kaushika 
Katyan 
Hemavanta 
Shiva Varma 
Bhava Varma 
Rudra Varma 
Bhoja Varma 
Gava Varma 
Bindha Varma 
Shukeen 

Balak Varma ... 
Lakshman Varma 
Madhava Varma 
Keshao Varma 
Shursen Varma 
Narayan Varma 
Shanti Varma 
Nadi Varma 
Gangadeo 
Amenga 
Rajesvai 

Neisinga Varma 
Kali Varma 
Dhriti Varma 



Residence. 
Kalinjar. 
Gauda Desha. 
Kalinjar. 

Residence, 
Gauda Desha. 



Bhojapur. 
Ranga Desha 



Shantipur. 
Nadiya. 



(II) Ghora Vamsha. 
Name. 
1 Dvijapal or Shardul 

2. Dharmpal 

3. Paurush 

4. Brahmapal 

5. Prajapal 



Urai. 

Residence. 
Kalinjar. 



KURMI 



377 



Imjar. 



6. Bahubal K^i; 

7. Randhii 

8. Brijapa) 

9. Dhati Varma 

10. Gurjar Varma 

11. Narnath Varma 

12. Antitipal 

13. Suhotra Varma 

14. Yagyadar Varma _ Shardulpur. 

15. Birkarma Ghuren. (He had two sons.) ... „ 

16. Jangasen and Ramakumar (Dwarpal) ... „ 

Note : Parihar Bhoja Deo was ruling over Kanuja in 880 A.D At 
the same time the Kurmi-Kshatriya of Kalingar being driven out by the 
Chanael, resided at Shardulpur by the side of the Tedhi lake. Ill-feeling arose 
between the Ghuren Kurmi Kshatriya and the Gohalauta of the vicinity. 
In 1019 Raja Rajyapal Parihar fled away to Shardulpur where he was killed 
by the Gohalauta and the Raja of Gwalior. A general massacre took place 
and all the claims of the Ghuren were confiscated. Of these, Birkarma 
Ghuren went to the Tomar Raja of Delhi, and describing his ill-fate begged 
for the Kannuja Shahi troop. Being successful in his attempt, he returned to 
Shardulpur and defeating the Gohalauta regained his property and inhabited 
a new village by the side of the Tedhi lake which is now called Tedha. 
Sub-castes. Sections. Gotras. 







r (1) 


Parhar. 








(2) 


Ghor. 




(1) 


Parhar : 


(3) 
(4) 
I (5) 
(1) 
(2) 
(3) 
(4) 
(5) 


Jangi. 

Dwarpal. 

Shardul. 

Vishvaksen (Vishen). 

Guhila (Guhilota). 

Rastrapal. 

Vysya 

Rana. 


Yagya Valka 






(6) 


Yashovigrahmahalalaha . 




(2) 


Shukla : 


(7) 

(8) 

(9) 

(10) 

(11) 

^(12) 

f (1) 

(2) 


Kalahi Singh 
Dvanda 
Shuklaha 
Ravut 
Pruvahirao. 
Jujhai Rao. 
Yuga Mahatma. 
Jagannathi. 


Bharadwaj. 


(3) 


Pramar : 


(3) 
(4) 


Vivahita. 
Hatath Grihita. 


Loumas. 



378 



KURMI 



Pahivar. Deoiaja. 

Ajavamshi. Dalak>hya. 

Kashtahar. Upamanu. 

Danurdhar, Garga. 

Brihadaval (Brihatcha). Gauatma. 

Eshvari. Sandilya. 

Gore. Katyayana. 

Vegavana. Deval. 

Katyan. Gobhilya. 

Jai Singh Chauhan, a Raja of the Agni Vamsha, conqueiing the whole 
of Notthetn India, performed a great yagya and adopted the respectable title 
of ' Chakradhar ' {chaudhari}. His son, Patteneshwar, inhabiting Pattan near 
the Ganges, began to live, and sent his son Ananda Deo to rule over Hastinapur. 
{Bhaoisya Puran — Prati Sarga ParVa Adhyaya 2.) 

" Chakra." — A troop, multitude, collection, realm, sovereignty, province, 
district, group of villages. Caregy's " Races and Tribes of Oudh." — Prof. V. 
S. Apte's Sanskrit-English Dictionary. 

" Kurmis " — well-to-do members of these classes adopt the honorary distinc- 
tion of " Chaudhari." 

The following hundred ki'las of the Northern India Kurmi-Kshattlyas, who 
are also residing in the Deccan, are given according to Krishnaji in the 
Mahabarata. , 

Kurmi. 



1. 


Brahma Vamshi, 


2. 


Nidar. 


3. 


Bhargava. 


4. 


Manwaha. 


5. 


Virat Vamshi. 


6. 


Marichicamshi. 


7. 


Dikshi Kurmi. 


8. 


Garhavaliya K 


9. 


Gautamiya 


10. 


Sukalankl. 


11. 


Udavatiya. 


12. 


Maharamya K 


13. 


Meruiha 


14. 


Gaunaha 


15. 


Bhruwar 


16. 


Pathari 


17. 


Chanderi 


18. 


Lohthamba 


19. 


Gohalauta 


20. 


Baghela 


21. 


Nikumbha 



Kurmi 



Kurmi. 



22. 


Pailawar 


23. 


Sumitravamshi 


24. 


Rathaur 


25. 


Sachan 


26. 


Avadhya 


27. 


Ramavamshi 


28. 


Kushavamshi 


29. 


Ikshakuvamshi 


30. 


Kashyapiya 


31. 


Vishei* 


32. 


Kachvaha 


33. 


Rana 


34. 


Ghauhan 


35. 


Bhojaka 


36. 


Gorakha 




(Raghuvamshi) 


37. 


Gaura 


38. 


Hajari 


39. 


Rishal 


40. 


Sharduliha 


41. 


Adhaianda 



KURMI 



379 



42. Karshaka 

43. Mahaiha 

44. MaliUha 

45. Mathawar 

46. Chaudhaii 

47. Suhottiya 

48. Banshavar 

49. Kharagvar 

50. Pathitapui 

51. Jayasawai 

52. Baiswat 

53. Katiyar 

54. Sainthawai 
5*. SingarauT 

56. Kanavajya 

57. Ghoiachaia 

58. Kshatriya 

59. Chandela 

60. Silahar 

6 1 . Shuisenvamshi 

62. Bundela 

63. Kaukishaya 

64. Kairati ' 

65. Galiatawat 

66. Raikawar 

67. Vtishni \ 

68. Pathanwar 

69. Yadu 

70. Andhak 

7 1 . Kutu 

72. Soma 



Kurmi. 



73. 


Tomar Vamshi Kurmi. 


74. 


Vatsal 


75. 


Thrimbaka , , 


76. 


Bhuvallabha 


77. 


Baisa 


78. 


Gadhawar ,, 


79. 


Ghiravaliha „ 


80. 


Rakshavaliha ,, 


81. 


Shreshthavan 




(Chhatavan) ,, 


82. 


Thakkur 


83. 


Fadindra 




Vamshi , , 


84. 


Sasan „ 


85. 


Ghurein Parihar 




Vamshi „ 


86. 


Yashovigrah Mahalaha. 


87. 


Pramar Chaman Purihar 


88. 


Chakradhar (Chaudhari) 


89. 


Galharaha Gohalaut. 


90. 


Ravat Ray a. 


91. 


Pahivar. 


92. 


Aja Vamshi. 


93. 


Kaichul ,, 


94. 


Dhanurdhar 


95. 


Behtaha. 


96. 


Eshawariha. 


97. 


Gore. 


98. 


Begwan. 


99. 


Kashtasen. 


100. 


Parihar. 



LVI 

Lalbeq 

Laibegi — a class of Muhammadan sweepers, whose customs are 
partly Hindu and partly Muhammadan. 

Origin — The traditions current among the people say that their 
ancestor was one Satisha Lalbeg, who was descended from the sage 
Walmiki. Lalbeg is identified by Sir H. Elliot with Lai Guru and, 
in Benares, he is confounded with Pir Zeihr (Sherring, " Hindu Tribes 
of Benares," p. 397). Though styled Muhammadans the Lalbegis do 
not practise circumcision. 

Internal Structure — Lalbegis have the following seven sub- 
classes who neither interdine nor intermarry : — Hele, Malkane, 
Chhichhade, Dumar, Chhajgade, Bhadeye dassan, Makhyar. They 
have also a number of exogamous groups, such as Phatrod, 'Sanakat, 
Kanderao, Suraswal, Gaikwad, Sarwan and Kanderia and marriage 
between persons belonging to the same section is forbidden. 

The Lalbegis admit outsiders freely into their community, the new 
comer being bathed and required to smoke from the same hukk^ 
as themselves. 

Marriage — Marriages are arranged by matchmakers, who are 
generally old women. Previous to the betrothal, Rajjaga (the night 
vigil), is observed and women sing songs throughout the night in honour 
of pirs. Next morning, a red cock is offered to Kuda (God) and eaten 
afterwards by the householders. The betrothal ceremony (Mangni) 
consists of taking the bridegroom to the house of the bride and 
presenting her with new clothes and jewels. A day for the marriage 
is fixed by consulting a Brahman. A marriage booth (mandap) 
supported on four pillars and covered with mango leaves is erected 
at the house of the bride. A twig of palas or dak (Btitea jrondosa) is 
planted in the centre of the booth and near this are placed two earthen 
vessels covered with dung, in which are sown seeds of wheat. The Tel 



Lalbegi 381 

Haldi ceremony follows and is celebrated as among the Hindu castes. 
Early on {he wedding morning, a procession is formed conducting the 
bridegroom to the bride's house. On his arrival, the bridegroom is 
received at the door by the bride's brother and is not allowed to 
enter the canopy until he pays some money to his receiver. He is 
here joined by the bride, dressed in a green sari and red bodice, and 
wearing two necklaces, .one of black beads and the other of eleven 
golden beads. The bridal pair each throw on the other's head, some 
coloured rice and have their clothes tied in a knot. Finally, seven 
pegs of palas wood are planted in a row in the ground and the 
couple walk seven times round them, the bridegroom kicking off one 
peg at the completion of each round. A Brahman standing outside 
the booth recites mantras and blesses the couple. The bridal pair 
are then seated side by side on a carpet and the bride's parents wash 
their feet with milk amd present them with money. The rest of tlie 
day is spent in feasting, the wedded couple returning to the bride- 
groom's house the next morning. 

Widow^Marriage and Divorce. — Widows are allowed to 
marry again and divorce is permitted on the ground of the wife's 
adultery, or if the couple do not agree. A bond is executed in the 
presence of the Pancha^at sanctioning the divorce and afterwards the 
divorced woman is allowed to marry again. 

Religion. — " The Lalbegis follow many Hindu customs, 
observing the DiWaJi and the Holi as the greatest festivals of the 
year. On these occasions a mud image of a mosque with five domes 
is made, supposed to be a model of one still existing at Ghazni, in 
Kabul, which belonged to Lalbeg, the eponymous ancestor of the 
tribe. In front of the image a cock is sacrificed, and offerings of 
pilau, sherbet and sweetmeats are made in his name." (Risley's 
"Tribes and Castes", Vol. II, 4). Every Friday, at sunset, offerings 
of flowers are made to Lalbeg by every householder. Brahmans 
are called in to fix the marriage day and to conduct the marriage 
ceremony, and suffer no degradation on this account. 

Disposal of the Dead ^The dead are buried in a lying 

posture, with the head pointing to the south. "The funeral cere- 
monies of the Lalbegis are peculiar. The dead may not be buried 



382 Lalbegi 

in a Mussalman cemetery, but are consigned to the grave in some 
waste and jungly spot. The corpse is wrapped in five shrouds, a 
handkerchief is placed under each arm and in each hand, a \asaiOa, 
or napkin, is bound round the head, and a Ifhirja, or blouse, is put 
on the body. After the grave has been filled in, a cloth cover 
(phxilka chadar) is laid over it, while four pieces of agar wood 
(Aquilaria Agallocha) are inserted at the 'comers and set fire to, 
The rest of the funeral ceremonies are strictly Muhammadan. For 
four days after a death a fire is not allowed to be lighted in the 
dwelling house of the deceased, the family in the meantime receiv/ng 
food from their neighbours ; but on the fifth day a tray laden with 
betel nuts and adorned with flowers is placed in front of the hut, 
and a feast is given to the whole tribe." (Risley's " Tribes and 
Castes •', Vol. II, 4.) 

Social Status No respectable Muhammadan will marry, eat 

or associate with the Lalbegis. They are not admitted into the public 
mosques nor buried in the public graveyards. Their touch is regarded 
as being ceremonially unclean by all respectable classes of .Hindus, 
while a Brahman officiating at their marriages stands far away from 
their community outside the wedding booth. Their women appear 
unveiled in public and help the men in their profession as sweepers. 
It is said that they eat the leavings of Europeans and drink any sort 
of wine or spirits. They are employed as sweepers in European house- 
holds and are always addressed as 'jjimadcirs' by the other servants. 

Occupation — Formerly, the Lalbegis lived on the outskirts of 
villages and towns and were not allowed to enter the locality by 
day. It so happened, however, during the reign of Aurangzeb, that 
a corpse was found lying in the streets of Delhi and it appeared to 
Muhammadans to be a Hindu corpse and to Hindus to be a Muham- 
madan one. The Lalbegis were at last ordered to remove it, but as 
they went to carry it away it became converted into a heap of 
flowers. This they claimed to be their pit Lalbeg, who had come 
to help them out of their degraded position. The Emperor was so 
struck with wonder at the change that he allowed the Lalbegis to live 
in towns and villages and to carry on their profession by day as 
well as by night. 



LVII 

LlNGAYIT 
(Titles : Rao, Appa, Anna, Ayya, Acharya.) 

Lingayit, Virshaiva, Lingadhari, Lingawant, Linga Balija. 
Banjigaru, Wani, Guru Haslulu, Mahajan, Devadoru, Pasyandi 
(heretics by Brahmans) — a religious sect of Saivaits, deriving their 
name from the Imgam, or the phallic emblem of the god Siva, a 
model of which, in stone or gold, they enclose in caskets of gold or 
silver, and wear on their bodies, either fastened to the left arm or 
suspended from the neck. They are very numerous in the Carnatic 
Districts of Gulbarga and Raichur, and from this centre appear to 
have spread all over the Dominions. 

History and 'Origin — The sect was founded during the 1 ah 
century A. D. by a Brahman named Basava, whose life has been 
recorded in the BasaVa Pmana, the religious book of the Lingayits. 
According to this account, Basava was the incarnation of Nandi, the 
vehicle of the god Siva, who, on hearing from the sage Nanda that 
the Saiva faith was on the decline on the earth, took birth as the 
son of a Saiva Brahman named Madiraja and his wife Madamba 
(Mahamba), inhabitants of Hinguleshwar situated to the west of Shri 
Shailya. The child was named Basava (bull) after one of the 
designations of Nandi. On attaining the age of investiture, he 
refused to assume the sacred thread, because the initiatory rites 
required the adoration of the sun. Being persecuted by Brahmans 
for this irreligious act, he, with his sister Nagamba, fled to Kalyani, 
the capital of a Jain prince, Bijjal Raja of the Chalukya dynasty, 
and obtained, in marriage, Gangamba, the daughter of Baldeva, the 
Raja's minister. On his father-in-law's death, Basava succeeded 
him in the office of Prime Minister. He had great influence over 
the king, to whom he is said to have lent his sister. Thus secure 
in power and fame, he began to preach openly the doctrines of the 



384 LiNGAYIT 

Virashaiva faith, in which he was initiated by Sangameshwaram 
Swami, and under his untiring zeal the new faith began to spread 
rapidly. As the creed inculcated equality of men, great numbers 
from all castes joined him and king Bijjal was at last aroused to 
the sense of danger. But his attempt to repress the movement 
drove Basavas adherents to desperation, and he was assassi- 
nated by a fanatic, named Jagadev, in' open court. Basava, upon 
this, removed to Sangameshwar, where he is, said to have disappeared 
at a Siva Lingam temple standing on the Kapila confluence of the 
Krishna and the Malaprabha. The sect was afterwards extended, 
by his sister's son, Channa Basava, who is popularly regarded as the 
real founder of the creed. 

The Basava Puran records marvellous anecdotes regarding Basava 
and his disciples, such as converting grains of corn into pearls, 
feeding multitudes, healing the sick and restoring the dead to life. 

The first disciples made by Basava were called Pramad Ganas. 
They were from all castes and of both sexes ; thus, Kinnuri Brah- 
mayya was a goldsmith, Bachi Rajayya a carpenter, BeyJihori Brah- 
mayya a cowherd, Madiwal Machayya a washerman, Gundayya a 
potter, Harlayya a shoe-maker, Kakayya a Dhor, Kotayya a Burud, 
Nulka Chandaya a Mang, Sooli Cholakka a concubine (courtesan ?), 
and several others. The views expounded by Basava were to change 
the worship of Siva. The linga, as the emblem of Siva, was always 
to be worn on the person and called jangam linga (the locomotive 
or moving lingam) in contradistinction to the sthdvara linga (the 
stationary lingam) set up in the Saiva temples. He inculcated the 
doctrine of equality of men, that man is the living temple of the 
deity, that women should be protected and permitted to teach the 
doctrines of the creed, unchastity alone causing them to forfeit their 
claims to respect. His principles do not reverence Brahmans, nor 
acknowledge the Vedas, nor recognise caste distinctions, and they 
deny polytheism and the inferiority of women. 

History of Linga Worship — The worship of a deity in the 
form of Linga, was not, however, originated by Basava. Linga- 
worship had prevailed, long before his time, not only in India but 
also in several other countries. It is the main purport of the Skftnia, 



\ LiNGAYIT 385 

Saiva and Linga Purmas and references to it may be found in 
almost all the other Purmas. The idol destroyed by Mahmud of 
Ghazni, is said to have been a Linga. It was a block of stone, four 
or five cubits long and of proportionate thickness. ' Trilingam ' is 
said to be the source of the name ' Telinga ' and ' Telingana ', the 
country extending from the north of Madras to Ganjam, and west 
to Bellary and Bidar. 

"The lingam is "the Priapus of the Romans, and the phallic 
emblem of the Gseeks. The Egyptians, Greeks and Romans had 
temples dedicated to Priapus, under the same forjn as that of the 
lingam. The Israelites worshipped the same figure, and erected 
statues to it." 

"Scripture (I King's XV, 13) informs us that Asa, son of 
Rehoboam, prevented his mother Maachah from sacrificing to 
Priapus, whose image he broke. The Jews caused themselves to be 
initiated into the mysteries of Belphegor (Baal-peor ?), a divinity like 
the lingam, whon; the Moabites sind Midianites worshipped on Mount 
Phegot; E<nd which worship, in all appearance, they received from the 
Egyptians. When Judah did evil in the sight of the Lord, and built 
them high places, and images, and groves, on every high hill and 
under every tree, the object was Baal, and the pillar, the lingam, was 
his symbol. It was on his altar that they burned incense, and sacrificed 
unto the calf on the fifteenfli day of the month, the sacred monthly 
period, the amavas of the Hindus. The calf of Israel seems the bull 
Nandi of Iswara, the Apis of the Egyptian Osiris. According to 
Colonel Tod, the lingam is identical with the Arabic idol Lat or 
Alhat. The worship reached France, doubtless with the Romans, 
and the figure of the lingam is still to be seen on the lintel which 
surrounds the Circus at Nismes, as well as on the front of some of 
their ancient churches, particularly on that of the Cathedral of 
Toulouse, and on some churches at Bourdeaux. Plutarch says thai 
the Egyptian god Osiris was found everywhere with the priapus 
exposed." 

" Linga-worship was conducted in Phoenicia (the Canaan of 
Scripture) in its worst aspect. According to Lucian ( De Syria 
Dea"), after the return of Bacchus, he placed the two colossal 

2S 



386 LiNGAYIT 

phalli, each 300 fathoms high (?) in the vestibule o( the great 
Syrian temple. In the great Bacchic pomp, celebrated by Ptolemy 
of Alexandria, we read (" Athenaeus ", lib. V.) of a Golden 
Phallus, 120 cubits high." 

" There can be no doubt but that the god Baal, whose votaries 
the Hebrews frequently became, is identical with the lingam, and 
the god styled ' Chiun ' in Amos V. is Si^a, whose name the races 
dwelling along the valley of the Indus pronounce Chivin and Swin. 
Yet there is nothing to show which race brought the Linga-worship 
to India and at what date. It seems, however, to have been inkio- 
duced about the beginning of the Christian era, from the beisin of the 
Lower Indus through Rajputana, and to have displaced the nature 
worship of the Vedas." (Balfour's " Cyclopaedia of India ", pp. 
716, 717). 

Internal Structure — The aim of Basava seems to have been 
to abolish caste and polytheism, and altliough he succeeded in 
forming a community composed of all grades and castes, yet social 
distinctions asserted themselves soon after his death, and the,Lingayit 
community is gradually drifting into a caste with its endogamous and 
hypergamous divisions. The Districts of Sholapur, Bijapur and 
Dharwad have formed the centre from which the movement is 
spreading into these Dominions. Owing, probably, to this tendency 
of the community to develop itself into castes and sub-castes based 
upon social distinctions, its internal structure is very complex. The 
Lingayits may be divided into four main groups. First, Jangams, 
who are the priests to the community. The second group comprises 
those who were the first converts to Lingayitism, and, in course of 
time, closed their ranks to new comers. These at present represent 
the Lingayits proper and form the bulk of the community. They 
are known as Linga Balijas in Telingana, and Lingawant Vanis in 
Maharashtra, while in the Camatic they have assumed the name Vira 
Shaivas. The third is composed of later converts, who were chiefly 
recruited from occupational castes, such as Ganglas or Telis, Ausalas 
or Sonars, Kumbhars, Sales or Koshtis and many others. They have 
dissociated themselves from their parent castes and formed separate 
endogamous sub-castes of their own. The fourth includes members 



i LiNGAYIT 387 

of the lowest unclean classes, such as Mala Jangams and Madiga 
Jangams, who, though converted to the sect, are destined to remain 
as impure as before. 

Jangams.— Mahishaiva, Virshaiva Brahman, Aprdkrata Brahman. 
Ayyanoru, Gdngalu. the priests of the Lingayit sect, who officiate 
at their religious rites. The word ' Jangam " means ' motion ' in 
Sanskrit and is applied to» these priests, who are regarded as being 
the living symbols of the god Siva. Under the recent development 
of the Vir Shaiva caste, they called themselves Vir Shaiva Brahmans, 
claijping, like Brahmans, social predominance over the rest of the 
community, and are dignified with the Brahmanical titles. Acharya, 
Swami, Murti, Pandit and Shastri. The Jangams have four divi- 
sions : (1) Mathpati, (2) Sthawara, (3) Ganachari and (4) Madpati. 
The Mathpatis (heads of monasteries) are further sub-divided into 
(1) Pata, (2) Chara and (3) Madwaya. 

The Pata Jangams include those who lead a celibate life, 
claiming to have renounced the world, or overcome its passions. 
Unlike th^ Chara Jangams, they live in maths or monasteries, and 
pass their days in meditation and prayers and in the regular worship 
of the lingam. The Chara are also celibate monks and are so called 
because they lead an erratic life, wandering from place to place, and 
subsisting on alms. Both these are highly venerated by the Lingayit 
community. The Madwaya Jangams are householders and officiate 
as priests to the lower Jangams. On abandoning life and its 
pleasures, and conforming to other requirements of an ascetic, they 
can become Pata or Chara Jangams. (2) The Sthawaras, as their 
name indicates, are stationary Jangams (householders) or those who 
cling to the world and its pleasures. They serve as priests to the laity. 

The Ganachari Jangams are householders like the Sthawaras, 
but. unlike them, wander from village to village acting as priests to 
the laity and collecting alms. They act as disciples to the Patta- 
dhyaksha (Palachar), and Chara Murti Jangams, and carry out the 
orders given by the latter. The Madapatis officiate at the funerals 
of the Lingayit community and lower Hindu castes. 

Corresponding to the Sanyasis of the Brahmans, the Jangams 
have an order of religious mendicants, known as Virakta Murti 



388 LiNGAYIT 

Jangams, who practise rigid asceticism, and command the highest 
veneration of the community. 

The following sub-divisions of the Jangams have also been 
given : — 

(1) Virakta Murti. 

(2) Patatara Devarachara Murti. . 

(3) AtitachAra Murti. 

(4) Gurusthala Chara Murti. 

(5) Deshikachara Murti. 

(6) Dhanalinga Chara Murti. 

These may be different local names of the groups mentioned above. 

The different orders of Jangams are distinguished from each 

other by their peculiar modes of mendicancy. The Virakta Murti 

Jangams collect alms in ochre-coloured head gear, wearing necklaces 

of rudraksha (ElcBocarpus Ganitms) about their necks and holding, in 

their left hands, a long stick (danda) to which is fastened the alms 

f 

bag {jholi), from the upper end of which are suspended three 
large tassels, emblematic of Siva's killing ' Tripura ' or three cities. 
Immediately above the right knee they wear a string of three large 
brass bells. They proclaim bheir mission by repeating the words 
■ Swayampakad Bhiksha ' (alms from self-cooked food). To this 
begging dress, the Gurusthala Murti Jangams add a large bell, tied on 
their begging stick, and announce their presence with the words, 
' Guru Dharma Koranna Bhiksha ' (alms in the name of guru and 
Dharma). The Sansari Jangams beg only with an alms bag, a conch 
and a bell, and pronounce the words ' Guru Dharma Swayaimpakada 
Bhiksha ' or alms from self-cooked food in the name of guru and 
Dharma. The Jangams beg oil and salt only on Thursdays. They 
stand in hypergamous relation to the Lingayits proper, or the ordinary 
Balijas or Vir Shaivas. In other words, they take the daughters of 
the Balijas in marriage, but do not give their own daughters in return. 
On this occasion, the girl is required to undergo Diksha, or 
initiatory rites. 

Some of the village Jangams are found too illiterate to under- 
stand the principles of their faith, and poorly discharge their functions 



LiNGAYIT 369 

as priests. At such places, the services of local Brahmans are 
frequently 'in request, a fact which illustrates how the community 
is gradually reverting to Brahmanisra. 

Balijas.— These are the Lingayits proper and are called Vir 
Shaivas (urra— warrior) probably because they were the warriors who 
exterminated, or carried on a prolonged contest with, the Jain and 
Shri Vaishanava faiths. .They are also known as Balijas, the origin 
of which is obscure. They have three hypergamous divisions : 
Silwant, Dikshawant and Raswat ; the Silwants take daughters in 
marriage from the two lower groups but do not give their own 
daughters in return ; so also with the Dikshawants. The Silwants 
are extremely bigoted in their views and punctilious in their religious 
observances. They scrupulously avoid drinking water exposed to the 
sun. The Raswats are privileged to become Dikshawants on under- 
going Diksha, or the required initiation, cind a further performance 
of initiatory rites enrolls them among the Silwant, the highest of the 
Balija community. It is even said that a Raswat, who stands at the 
lowest rung of their social ladder, can attain the coveted position 
of a Pata or Chara Jangam, by performing at each stage a Diksha 
(religious ceremony), and by observing the rigid ceremonial ordained 
for the stage. 

Occupational Linga'sit Groups. — These, as stated above, comprise 
endogamous divisions, recruited from the functional castes of Hindu 
society. They remain aloof from the parent castes, being guided, 
entirely, in their religious and ceremonial observances, by Jangams, 
who are their priests and take food in their houses. Some of these 
divisions merit a brief description. 

Lingayit Gowlis. — ^These were originally recruited from among 
the Maratha Gowlis. Although they have embraced the LingayiS 
creed, they still cling to some of their original customs. They 
govern their marriages by family surnames, observe mourning for 
the dead and regard their women as being ceremonially unclean 
during the menstrual period or in child-birth. They call in 
Brahmans and Jangams at their marriage ceremony and worship Tulja 
Bhavani along with their sectarian deity Mahadeo. On the other 
hand, unlike their original caste brethren, they give Linkayit diksha 



390 LlNGAYIT 

to their children, weM lingams on their persons, abstain from liquor 
and flesh and do not eat food cooked even by a Braliman. Jangams 
alone officiate at their funeral ceremonies. 

Linga'sit Kumbhars. — The Lingayit Kumbhars, although pro- 
fessing to be Lingayits, have not entirely shaken off their old beliefs. 
Like the Lingayit Gowlis, they employ both Brahmans and Jangams 
at their marriages, mourn their dead, and regard their women as 
being ceremonially impure in child-birth smd , during the menstrual 
period, usages not sanctioned by their adopted sect. They have such 
divisions as Dikshawant and Silwant, but intermarriages betvi'fen 
them and the Lingayits proper are not allowed. They are very 
numerous in the Karnatic, but are also found, in small numbers, in 
the Mcirathawada and Telgu Districts. 

Lingayit Telis. — The Lingayit Telis are converts to Lingayitism 
from the Teli caste. They are known as Gandlas in Telingana, 
Telis in Maharashtra, and Ganigstfu or Kari Ganigaru in the Karnatic. 
They have hypergamous divisions, Silwant, Dikshawant and Raswat, 
modelled on the type prevalent among the Lingayits proper, with 
whom, however, they are allowed neither to eat nor to intermarry. 
Their intermarriages are regulated by the same rule of exogamy as 
practised by the Lingayits proper. Occasionally they show respect 
to Brahmans. They have been already described under the Gandla 
caste. 

Lingayit Simpis. — The Lingayit Simpis (tailors) comprise two 
followers of Kinnuri Brahmayya, the first goldsmith disciple of Basava. 
Their rites and ceremonies closely correspond with those of the 
Jangams. There are also Lingayit Panchals including the five artisan 
classes, as mentioned and described in the report on the Panchdayi 
caste. 

Lingayit Simpis. — The Lingayit Simpis (tailors) comprise two 
endogamous divisions : (1) Nagleek Simpi and (2) Siva Simpi. 
The Nagleek Simpis sure mostly found in the Talukas of Shorapur, 
Shahapur, Pargi, Andol and Gulbarga, ' and claim descent from 
Godand Bhat, a Brahman, and his wife Domava, who were among 
the disciples of Basava. It may be that the adoption of tailoring, 
as their occupation, has separated them from the main Lingayit 



LiNGAYIT 391 

community. The Siva Slmpis are all Dikshawants. Most of them 
are cloth merchants, and have the title ' Chetti,' attached to their 
names. Both Nagleek and Siva Simpis are staunch followers of the 
Vir Saiva sect, and are regulated, in their religious and ceremonial 
observances, by the laws laid down for Jangams. 

Phuldris. — The Phularis are Lingayits who are recruited from 
among the Gurava caste of Maharashtra and the Tamdi caste of 
Telingana. They are not such warm and bigoted Lingayits as other 
proselytes are and stHl cling to some of the customs and usages of 
their parent caste. They wear both the sacred thread and the 

Lmga^it Koshtis. — The Lingayit Koshtis (weavers) are called 
Hatkars, who, before their conversion, probably belonged to the 
Devanga caste ; for both worship Chaudamma as their tutelary 
goddess. Their ceremonial is a mixture of Brahmanic and Lingayit 
usages and rites, in which the latter preponderate. 

LmgaSit Hajdms. — The Lingayit Hajams are divided into two 
hypergamous grpups, Silwant Hajams and ordinary Hajams. They 
appear ito adhere strictly to their creed and conduct all their cere- 
monies under the guidance of a Jangam. 

Lingayit Dhobis.—The Lingayit Dhobis claim to be descended 
from the followers of Madiwal Machayya, the washerman disciple of 
Basava. They are already noticed under the Dhobi caste. 

Karikulddwms.— An agricultural caste found in the Kamatic. 
Very little is known regarding their origin and the etymology or the 
name they bear. They conform closely to the beliefs and ritual of 
the Lingayit sect. They are very scrupulous in their observances and 

extremely bigoted. 

Lad Kunkmnwdles.—The Lad Kunkumwales, also called 
Kunkumwale Lads, or only Lads, profess to be originally Raswats. 
from whom they were separated by reason of their having adopted 
the profession of selling ^un^um (red aniline powder). They bear 
the title 'Sirasat' of which the real significance is not known^ 
Although claiming to be Lingayits, they omit some of the essentia 
rituals of the sect, engage Brahmans for marriages, and worship all 
the gods of the Hindu pantheon. They follow several occupations. 



392 LiNGAYlT 

of which those of tamboli (betel-leaf vendor), chetti (cloth-dealer) 
want (grocer) and kpnki^tmwdle (vendor of kfinkum) are, prominent. 
The last profession is said to have brought them into disgrace with 
their gums. Jangams do not take food with them, as they do 
with members of other professions. 

Kursalis. — The Kursali group is composed of the off-spring of 
prostitutes, kept by members of the Vir Saiva conomunity. They 
follow the Jangam creed. They marry their daughters, both as 
adults and as infants, by meagre rites and pay a bride-price to the 
father of the girl varying from Rs. 50 to Rs. 100. The Kursalis 
as a caste still appear to be in an undeveloped stage, for they hSve 
no definite system of exogamy, and regulate their marriages simply 
by kinship. Their views regarding the observance of ceremonials 
are very lax. 

Jyandrds.. — The Jyandras, Jadras or Jarads (Canarese, ' great 
man ') are, like the Hatkars, recruited from the Devanga weavers. 
They have three endogamous divisions : Padsalgiri, Lingada Keri 
and Kurwale, the last one being regarded the lowest of the three. 
The first two eat together, but do not intermarry. Custom' ordains 
that the Kurwales should use only white objects. They must weave 
only white cloth and use white bullocks for riding and agricultural 
operations. The dog is taboo to the members of the sub-caste, that 
is to say a Kurwale should never keep a dog, nor injure nor kill it. 
They do not get their bullocks castrated, and it is on this account, 
it is said, that they are looked down upon by the other two sub- 
castes. For their wedding booths the Jyandras use pillars of pangm 
wood (Er^thrina indica) and make their wedding bracelets of white 
wool. It is this customary use of everything white that is probably 
carried to an excess by the Kurwales. It is very difficult to trace 
the origin of this singular custom. 

In their belief, and customs the Jyandras are rigid Lingayits, 
and carefully observe the ceremonials and rites belonging to the 
sect. Their favourite object of worship is Vir Bhadra, whom they 
worship with great pomp once every year. They are engaged m 
weaving cotton and silk goods. 

The castes, included in the fourth group, are the lowest unclean 



LiNGAYIT 393 

classes already referred to. They are only nominally Lingayits, 
being attached to the Lingayit community by reason of performing 
its menial services. 

Exogamy—Mythologically, the Vishaivas claim to be 
descended from five Acharyas : Revana-aradhya, Marularadhya, 
Ekoramaradhya, Panditaradhya and Vishwaradhya, who sprang res- 
pectively from the five mouths of Siva, tiiz., Sadyojata, Wamadeva, 
Aghor, Tatpurusha and_ Ishanya. These Acharyas had their respec- 
tive gotras, or eponymous sections, viz., Vrishabha, Nandi, Bhrangi, 
Virbhadra and Skanda, each of which was further split up into 
twelve hhagis or sub-septs. The hhagi traces its origin to a single 
ancestor, who is regarded as its progenitor. 

This well-defined system of sections, so ingenuously framed, was 
evidently adopted when the community was organised into the sect, 
and' forms the basis upon which the connubial arrangements of the 
enlightened and aristocratic members of the community rest. But the 
masses, who are too ignorant to understand its significance, regulate 
their maniages mostly by territorial sections, which are either the 
relics of the past, or were adopted in more recent times, owing to the 
circumstance of their having occupied a particular locality for long. 

A man cannot meirry a girl of his own gotra even though she 
belongs to a different hhagi. He may marry the daughter of his 
maternal uncle or paternal aunt. Two sisters may be married to the 
same man. The laity must marry within their own sub-caste, but 
Jangams can marry in all castes, even the Idiga, Mangala and 
Kummara castes, provided the latter are Lingayits, and have the 
privilege of admitting their priests lo the communion of food. Poly- 
gamy is permitted to any extent, theoretically. The Lingayits marry 
their daughters as infants, between the ages of 3 and 12, and social • 
stigma attaches to the parents of a girl who attains puberty before 
marriage. It is said that, generally, girls are first offered to Jangams, 
and it is only when they are not accepted, not being accompanied 
by a sufficiently liberal dowry, that they are manied to the members 
of the sub-caste. 

Marriage. — Marriages are arranged by the parents of the 
parties, the first step towards initiating proposals for marriage being 



394 LiNGAYIT 

taken by the parents or guardians of the bridegroom.. After the 
marriage is agreed upon, Nischaydrtha ceremony is performed, at which 
the bride receives presents of clothes and jewels from the bridegroom's 
party and the wedding day is fixed, after due consideration of the 
astrological data presented by the horoscopes of both the bride and 
bridegroom. A marriage pandal, consisting of twelve or sixteen 
pillars is erected, the milk (wedding) post being of umhar {Ficus 
glomerata), to which are fastened leaves of mango (Mangijera indica), 
palas (Butea jrondosa), and banyan (Ficus bengalensis). Raw cotton 
thread is bound around it smd a lamp is kept burning upon it. • The 
marriage ceremony extends over five days and comprises the follow- 
ing rites : — 

On the first day, they invoke the family and tutelary deities, 
among which Virbhadra occupies a prominent position. The worship 
of Virbhadra deserves mention. Early in the morning, after the bride 
and the bridegroom have been smeared with turmeric paste and oil 
and bathed with warm water, a Mathapati Jangam (the head 
of a Jangam monastery) is called in to perform the worship of 
Virbhadra. The Jangam breaks an earthen pot horizontally 
into two equal portions, and forms a sort of pan of these 
two pieces by placing the lower portion of the pot into the inverted 
upper portion. In this pan he makes a fire and throws over it some 
gugula (the fragrant gum-resin of Balsamodendrom Muku^ until it 
bursts into fumes. His waist is girt round with a sari and a string of 
bells, and his breast adorned with images of Virbhadra. Holding the 
fire pan in the left hand and a sword in the right, he goes, in grand 
procession, to the temple of Virbhadra, dancing and flourishing the 
sword all the way and singing praises in honour of the deity. 
On arrival at the temple, he places the sword before the god, and 
worships him with offerings of flowers and cocoanuts. After the 
bridal pair, who accompany the procession, have made obeisance 
before the deity, camphor is burnt and cocoanut kernel is distributed 
to the assembly. The party then return. At the auspicious moment 
appointed for the wedding, the bridal pair are seated side by side, 
before panch-kalasha, or five brass pots full of water, with their 
mouths covered with cocoanuts and tlieir necks encottipassed cy 



LiNGAYIT 395 

raw cotton thread. The pots represent the primeval Panch Acharyas, 
and are placed upon a figure of an ass traced on the ground in flour 
mixed with hmkuma (red powder) and turmeric (yellow powder). 
With the help of the officiating Jangam priest, the bridal pair are 
made to worship the pcmch-\alasha. The cotton thread is then 
removed from the vessels and made into two bracelets, one of which 
is tied on the wrist of the 'bridegroom and the other on that of the 
bride, this ceremony being known as Karikanhandhcmam. The man- 
galsutra (auspicious string of glass beads) placed in a cocoanut shell is 
passed round to be touched and blessed by the assembly, whereupon 
the bridegroom ties it round the bride's neck. This is done in secret, 
no one except a Lingayit being allowed to witness the ceremony. 
Both Kankanbandhanam and Talibandhanam form the essential 
portion of the marriage ceremony. The rituals that follow, viz., 
Akikol, Kanyadan, Brahmamodi, Bhuma, Mirongi, Manitamba, 
Nagol Chagol, Panpu and the like, are of the usual orthodox type 
current among the higher Hindu castes of the Camatic and Telin- 
gana. The^ marriage ceremony of the Maratha Lingayits does not 
appear to differ materially from that in vogue among the higher 
Brahmanic castes, except, that 'Jangams where obtainable, are 
engaged as priests along with Brahmans, and that the Panch-kalasha 
Puja is performed just prior to the standard Brahmanic rites of 
Antarpat and Kanyadan. 

Widow=Marriage and Divorce ^A widow may marry again 

by inferior ceremonies. She is not, however, required to marry her 
late husband's younger brother. The widow returns to the home of 
her parents, who take the initiative towards finding a suitable husband 
for her. If a widow becomes pregnant, she is called upon to declare 
the name of her lover and he is compelled to marry her. Usually, the 
parents of a widow receive a price for her from the bridegroom. A 
woman who is widowed seven times is regarded with extreme vene- 
ration by her sex and becomes the object of universal adoration 

among her community. 

A faithless wife is turned out of the house without any ceremony. 
If a man ill-treats his wife, their maniage is dissolved, with the 
sanction of the caste Panchayat, and either party is at liberty to 



396 LiNGAYIT 

marry again. Divorced women are allowed to marry again by the 
same rites as widows. ' 

A good deal of sexual laxity prevails in the community, and 
men taking a fancy to other's wives run away with them and marry 
them after having divorced their own wives. A man having no 
issue marries a pregnant widow and, after she is delivered, claims 
the child as his own. . 

Inheritance. — In matters of succession the Lingayits have no 
rules of their own, but follow the Hindu law of inheritance. 

Religion. — The Virshaiva creed is comprised in three words 
' Guru, Linga, Jangam.' This mystic phrase is thus expounded. 
Guru is one who breathes the five-syllabled sacred mantra (formula), 
Namah Sivaya (bow to Siva) into the ear ; Lingam is Siva, and 
Jangam is the wearer of the emblem, or the living symbol of the deity. 

The gum is an essential factor of the Lingayit faith, for no one is 
entitled to be a Virshaiva, unless he is invested with the sacred Siva 
Mantra by a guru, who is a Jangam of the highest order, represent- 
ing one of the five primeval great Acharyas. In the estimation of 
his disciples, this spiritual adviser becomes a god, and is given the 
highest reverence accorded to any mortal. 

The lingam is a smooth, white stone, shaped like a spoon, which 
every Virshaiva is enjoined to wear on his body and if, by accident, 
he loses it he is required to undergo expiatory rites and be reinvested 
with it. This lingam is called Jangam Lingam (locomotive) as distin- 
guished from Sthdwar Lingam (stationary) of the Shaivas, which is a 
round conical stone rising perpendicularly out of an oval-shaped rim cut 
in a stone platform. The oval rim represents the yoni, the symbol 
of the female energy, as lingam is that of the male. The Virshaivas 
direct their worship only to the male form, while the objects of 
reverence of the Saivas are both the male (lingam) and the female 
(ponr) Jorms. Jangams, as living symbols of Siva, are entitled to 
their highest respect. These three form the basis upon which the 
whole structure of the Lingayit faith is reared. Every Ligayit is 
required to undergo diksha, initiatory rites, which consist oi 
Ashtaoidhdrchana, or eight-fold sacraments, viz., 

(1) Vibhuti. (2) Rudraksha. 



LiNGAYIT 397 



(3) Panchakshara. 


(6) 


Jangam. 


(PranaOa) Mantra. 


(7) 


Padodakfl. 


(4) Gum. 


(8) 


Prasad. 


(5) Lmgam. 







Virbhadra and Basava'(the bull of Siva) are the patron gods of 
the community, worshipped every Monday with various offerings. 
Females honour Kedari Gauramma in the month of Kartika. Allam 
Prabhu, and other saints are also duly reverenced. The Virakta 
Jangams pass their days in reading their sacred book, BasaVa Parana, 
and in telling beads, continually repeating the sacred mantra. 

Every Lingayit is enjoined to smear his forehead with vibhuti 
(ashes), and not to touch food without offering puja to his lingam. 
Pochamma, Mariamma, Mutyalamma and other minor deities have 
the same hold upon the members of this caste as upon those of 
other Brahmanic cgstes, and are appeased in various ways. The 
sectarian rigidity of the Lingayits is now breaking down, and there are 
instances showing that some of the Virshaivas have taken to the 
worship of Vishnu and other gods of the Hindu pantheon. 

Child=Birth — When a child is born, a Mathadipati Jangam is 
sent for. A spot of ground is purified by the sprinkling of cow's 
urine over it, and smeared afterwards with cowdung. It is then 
decked with designs traced in five colours, and over it five metal 
vessels are arranged in a quincunx, the middle one being placed on 
a heap of wheat or jawari. The vessels are filled with water and 
covered with mango leaves. A fine-spun cotton thread is wound 
round them. The gum is seated, facing the east, on a white blanket 
spread before the vessels. The mother and child are purified by the 
sprinkling of water, in which the Jangam's feet have been washed. 
After the gum has been duly worshipped by the father, the child is 
brought out, and the gum Jangam binds the lingam on its person, 
besmears it with vibhuti (ashes), puts a garland of mdraksha 
(ElcBocarpus Ganitrus) round its neck, breathes into its ear the mystic 
mantra of ' Om\ Namah Shiva\}a\ and presents the child to the 
god Siva, in the person of a Jangam priest who is his representative. 



398 LiNGAYIT 

Lastly tirtha (water in which the guru's feet have been washed), and 
Prasad (the leavings of the guru) are given to the child ; these effect its 
conversion to the Lingayit sect. 

Lingayit women in child-birth or during the menstrual, are not 
regarded as impure, but on taking the tirtha of their guru are allowed 
to take part in household affairs. 

Disposal of the Dead. — The dead are buried in a sitting 
posture, with the face pointing to the north. . When a person is on 
the point of death, the relatives call in a Jangam who smears the 
dying man's body with cibhuti, ties strings of rudra\sha rountj his 
neck and wrist and gives him pddodaka (tirtha) to drink and prasdd to 
eat. After this, Jangams are fed in his name. If, after the perform- 
ance of these rites, the man recovers, it is enjoined that he must be 
banished from his house and compelled to lead a wandering life. 
But, in practice, these injunctions are rarely followed. When life 
becomes extinct, the body is washed and made to assume a sitting 
attitude, with the legs crossed, and the officiating Jangam places his 
left foot on the right thigh of the corpse. Food is prepared and all 
the Jangams are feasted. The members of the household partake 
of the meal after it Eas been offered to the dead person. The body 
is borne on the shoulders of relatives and friends to the burial ground 
in a viman, or bamboo car, adorned with plantain stems and flags. 
The procession is attended with music and tom-toms and is led by a 
man of the Salwadi or Lingayit Mala caste, who blows a conch and 
rings a large bell all the way. The grave is dug with three steps on 
one side and with a niche cut in the other side, large enough to receive 
the corpse. The corpse is lowered and seated In the niche facing 
the north. The lingam, which he wore, together with bel {Mgle 
Marmelos) leaves and vihhuti (sacred ashes), is placed in the left 
hand and covered by the right. Three bel leaves are impressed with 
the mystic mantra ; one of them is placed on the head of the corpse, 
the other on its shoulder and the third under its feet. Salt is placed 
on the head and the grave is filled In. On the third day after death 
four nandis made of clay are placed on the four comers of the 
grave, and a lingam in the middle of it. Food is offered at the 
grave and then eaten by the members of the family. No Sradha 



LiNGAYIT 399 

is performed in the name of the deceased. The anniversary day is 
celebrated by' feasting Jangams. 

Social Status.— Among themselves, the Lingayits have formed 
so many different groups that it is not easy to define their social 
status. As a rule, it is observed that when a portion of a caste is 
converted to Lingayitism it occupies a social rank higher than the 
original caste. As for instance, the Hatkars occupy a higher social 
rank than the Dewangas from whom they are recruited, and the 
rule extends to all the castes. This is doubtless due to the fact 
that the proselytes are compelled to abstain from flesh and liquor, 
which raises them in social estimation. The Virshaivas, or Linga 
Balijas as they are called in Telingana, rank higher than the Kapus 
and other castes of the same social stemding. 

Occupation. — The Lingayits, or Linga Balijas, or Lingawant 
Vanis, are engaged in some form of trade or another, for instance, they 
are shopkeepers, cloth-merchants, grain-dealers and bankers and a 
few of them have acquired great riches and are regarded as the 
wealthiest portion of the community. Some have lately entered 
Government service and are also members of learned professions. 
But the majority of the Virsaivas are agriculturists, being especially 
skilful in rearing the delicate betel-vine and other garden produce. 
They are both occupancy and non-occupany raiats and landless day 
labourers. In some places they are headmen of villages and substan- 
tial tenure holders. A small proportion of them are also cart drivers, 
cattle breeders and confectioners. In short, they pursue every occupa- 
tion that is not likely to lower them in social estimation. 

Unlike the Brahmanic castes, the Lingayits have no tuft of hair 
on their crowns, but either get their heads clean shaven or keep them 
all covered with hair. Their word of salutation to each other is 
' Sharanat Appa ' and their conespondence usually begins with 
'Shri Guruhasta Janita Ashtawama Panchacharya. 



LVIII 

LODHE 

Lodhe, Lodhi — an agricultural caste supposed to have come 
from the United Provinces, Central India and Bundelkhand. 
According to Sir George Campbell, " they are cognate to the Kurma 
and to have, at one time, occupied a very considerable posibi&n in 
the Jabbalpur and Saugar Districts. The Lodhes are scarcely in- 
ferior to the Kurmi as agriculturists, are hardy and active, but are 
the opposite of the Kurmi in natural temperament, being turbulent, 
revengeful and ever ready to join in any disturbance. They make 
good soldiers and are generally excellent sportsmen. The Lodhe 
agriculturists of Upper India attained to some distinction as marau- 
ders in the Narbada country and some of their ohiefs still retain all 
the popular respect due to families which have forgotten' to live on 
their own industry" (Campbell P. 193). The Lodhes regard them- 
selves as Rajputs, but can give no account of their origin, nor are 
there any traditions current among them which will throw light 
upon the subject. 

Internal Structure — The Lodhes are divided into the follow- 
ing sub-castes : Jariya, Patariya, Singor, Nathniya, Loniya, Nava 
Khandewale, Handeya, Noniye and Malgeshiya, who do not inter- 
marry. The origin of these names is obscure. The Jariyas claim 
to be of the highest dignity, deriving their name, as they say, from 
jar meaning ' gold ' . The Pataria take their name from patari, or 
leaf plates, and the Loniya from lona, or salt. Information is not 
available regarding the significance of these names. It may be that 
these are occupational groups, dealing in articles denoted by their 
names, and have consequently become separated into distinct sub- 
castes. The Nathniyais are so called because their women alone 
among the Lodhes wear nose-rings. 

All the Lodhes belong only to one gotra, Kasyap, which is oi 
course inoperative for matrimonial purposes, since marriages between 



LODHE 401 

members of the same gotra are not forbidden. They profess to 
prohibit marriages between persons descended from the same ancestors 
within seven degrees on the male and three degrees on the female 
side, but the caste is illiterate and there is no machinery among them 
for guarding against consanguineous marriages. 

Marriage — The Lodhes practise either infant or adult marriage, 
the tendency being, for those who can afford it, to marry their 
daughters as infants. Polygamy is permitted ; a man is allowed to 
have as many wives as f^e can afford to maintain. 

The marriage ceremony of the Lodhes is of the type common 
among the Khatris and other castes of Upper Indi-. When a 
marriage is under consideration, the headman and Panchayat are 
consulted regarding prohibited degrees. Mutual visits of inspection 
follow, at which presents of jiew clothes and jewels are made to the 
girl, and of new clothes and five rupees in cash to the boy. After 
thi^, a Kanojia Brahman is called in to fix an auspicious date for 
the wedding. The binding portion of the ceremony is Kan\}adan, 
or the giving away of the bride by her father or guardian and the 
acceptance of her by the bridegroom. When this is done, the bridal 
pair, with their scarves knotted together, walk seven times round the 
mango post planted in the centre of the wedding booth. This is 
followed by Sindurdan, when the bridegroom smears vermilion on the 
parting of the bride's hair. 

Widow=Marriage and Divorce Widows are allowed to 

marry again and are usually exp>ected to marry their deceased husband's 
younger brother. The ceremony is simple. On a dark night, the 
bridegroom, accompanied by a widow, goes to the bride's house, 
presents her with a new sari, and puts mangahutra, or a string of 
black beads, round her neck. The bridal pair then return to the 
bridegroom's house, where a feast is given to the members of the 
caste. Divorce is recognised and divorced wives may marry agam 
by the same rite as widows. 

Inheritance — In matters of inheritance and succession the Lodhes 
follow the Hindu law in force among the Hindus of Upper India ; 
the sons of one wife, how.ever, take a share equal to that of the sons, 

however many, of another. 
26 



402 LODHE 

ChiId=Birth — A wcwnan in child-birth is unclean for ten days. 
On the fiftih day after birth, a spot is plastered with cowdung and a 
pair of copper anklets, a piece of black cloth and a Baby's dress are 
placed on it and worshipped with offerings of flowers, boiled rice and 
curds. A feast is given to the relatives, after which the articles are 
put on the newly born child. At night, the doors and windows of 
the house are kept wide open and vigil is kept till daybreak. On 
the tenth day, a hole is dug in the courtyard of the house and on its 
edge are placed four pieces of firewood an^ an earthen pot of water. 
After the mother has worshipped the pot she is considered free from 
all impurity. 

Religion. — Most of the Lodhes are Vaishnawas and worship 
Balaji and Krishna. The festival of Gokulashtami is celebrated 
with some pomp. Their religious observances present no features of 
special interest. Kanojia Brahmans are usually engaged for reli- 
gious and ceremonial purposes, but no objection is taken to the em- 
ployment of Maratha Brahmans on these occasions. The members of 
the caste also pay reverence to Devi, under her forms Kalika and 
Tuljapuri of Tuljapur. Among their minor deities are Mari Ai and 
Sitala, who are worshipped with a variety of offerings. 

Disposal of the Dead — The dead are usually burned, but 
occasionally buried if the means of the family of the deceased are 
too limited to bear the cremation expenses. In the latter case, the 
corp'.e is laid in the grave face upwards, with the head pointing to 
the south, Mourning is. observed ten days for adults and three days 
for children. Sradba is performed on the 10th day after death and 
on the thirteenth a feast is given to the members of the caste in the 
name of tf e deceased. Libations of water are offered to the spirits 
of ancestors in general ip the month of Bhadrapad (September). 

Socini Statu.s — The Lodhes will accppt cooked food only from 
the hands of Kanojia Brahmans and Khatris. They ^vilI, however, 
take water from the Bhois and castes equal to or higher than these in 
'ocial standing. The members of the caste eat fish, mutton and 
venison, but refrain from fowl. All of them make free use of 
fermented and spirituou.s liquors. It is said that the Marathas, and 
r.-- -• inff'ior to fh'-iTi. v/jH eat food cooked by a Lodhe. 



LODHE . 403 

Occupation. — The caste, as a whole, may be described as 
agricultural, though many of them make their living as carters, 
labourers, charcoal and cowdung-cake sellers, petty traders and 
money lenders. Some have enlisted in the native army and a fev> 
have entered Government service. 



LIX 

Lc»IARI 

Lonari, Lonmali, Lonkar — lime and charcoal burners, who are 
mostly to be found in the Districts of Parbhani, Bhir and Aurangabad 
of the Aurangabad Subah. 

History Except for the vague account 'that they were created 

by Mahadeva for the purpose of manufacturing salt, they have no 
traditions respecting their origin. The earliest mention of their name 
occurs in the Mahabharata, where Vidura advises Dhritarashtra to act 
like a Malakar (maJi or gardener), who grows trees and eats fruit, 
instead of like a Lonari, who bums trees and prepares charcoal. 
Some authorities say that they are the offspring of a Kaivartaka father 
and a Jadhika mother. The members of the caste hold themselves 
to be a branch of the Maratha Kunbis, separated from the main group 
by reason of their having adopted the profession,, of lime burning. 
They further add that they occupy a degraded position, because 
they are associated with the donkey which carries broken lime-stone 
to the kiln for burning. It is said that the sheori tree (Seshania 
cBgypUaca) is held in the greatest reverence by all members of the caste. 

Internal Structure — The Lonaris are divided into two sub- 
castes : (1) Lonaris and (2) Kadu Lonaris, or the illegitimate 
descendants of Lonaris. These two classes interdine but do not 
intermarry. 

The following are some of the exogamous sections, which would 
appear to be the same as those of the Maratha Kunbis. 

(1) Dagde (8) Satpute 

(2) Dhokkat (9) Tambe 

(3) Balanker (10) Landage 

(4) Khandekar (11) Jhadge 

(5) Sinde (12) Gargunda 

(6) Dhone (13) Murge 

(7) Gavane (14) Kavale 



LONARI 405 

(15) Muthekar (18) Wangdare 

(16) Khade (19) Adane 

(17) Karande (20) Ingale. 

As a rule, marriage within the section is forbidden. A man is 
not allowed to marry the daughter either of his maternal or paternal 
aunt. He may marry the daughter of his maternal uncle. The 
marriage of two sisters to* the same man is permitted. Two brothers 
may marry two sisters. 

Marriage — Girls are married both before and after they have 
attiined the age of puberty. Sexual intercourse before marriage is 
punished by a nominal fine. If a girl becomes pregnant before 
marriage, her paramour is compelled by the caste council to marry 
her. Her children are, however, ranked among the Kadu Lonaris. 
Sexual indiscretion with an outsider is punished by expulsion from 
the caste. Polygamy is permitted without limit, and poverty is the 
only restriction to the number of wives a man may have. 

The boy's father goes to select a suitable bride for his son. 
When the girl is approved of, and both parties are satisfied as to 
their respective selections, the caste people meet and celebrate the 
occasion with a drink at the expense of the boy's father. This cere- 
mony is known as Khushali. The horoscopes of the betrothed pair 
are compared by a Brahman astrologer and an auspicious date is 
fixed for the performance of the actual marriage, which is solemnized 
under a booth erected at the girl's house. The deva devaka, or 
marriage guardian deity, consists of panchpallaci, i.e., leaves of the 
mango (Mangijera indica), jambul (Eugenia Jambolana), umbar 
[Ficus glomeraia), shami {Prosopis spicigera) and rui (Calotropis 
gigantea). The maniage ceremony corresponds precisely with that 
current among other Maratha castes. The bridegroom is taken in 
procession on a bullock to the bride's house. The bride and the 
bridegroom are made to stand face to face on bamboo baskets, a 
curtain is held between them and the officiating Brahman recites 
mantras and throws turmeric-coloured jaWari grains on their heads. 
The curtain being withdrawn, the bridal pair exchange garlands of 
flowers and are encircled with cotton thread which, formed into 
thread bracelets, is tied on their wrists. This last rite, which n 



406 LONARI 

styled Kank.(tnbandhan, is regarded by some to be the valid portion 
of the ceremony. In the opinion of others, Saptapadi, or the seven 
rounds which the bridal pair take round the sacred fire (homa), 
makes the marriage irrevocable. 

Widow-Marriage — A widow is allowed to marry again, and 
her choice of a second husband is unrestricted, provided she avoids 
the sections of her father and her first husband, and observes the 
prohibited degrees. The ritual is very simple. Late on a dark 
night, the bridegroom, accompanied by a few of his friends, goes 
to the bride's house, where the principal members of the taste 
Panchayat have already assembled. He takes his seat upon a low 
wooden stool placed inside a square marked out with grains of wheat. 
The bride is brought in by widows and seated by his side. After 
puja has been done by the priest (Brahman) to Ganpati and Varuna, 
represented by a betel nut and a water pot, respectively, the clothes 
of the couple are knotted together and their heads are brought into 
contact. They make obeisance before the famil); gods, the priest 
and elderly relations, ?fter which the knot is untied. Very early 
next morning, the pair go to Maruti's temple, where the widow is 
concealed till evening, in order that her unlucky face may not be 
seen by virgin wives. The proceedings end with a feast provided 
by the bridegroom. 

Divorce — Divorce is permitted on the ground of the wife's 
adultery or bad temper, or the husband's impotency or ill treatment. 
A divorce bond is drawn up, and attested by the caste panchas, and 
their sanction to the act being thus obtained, the woman is driven 
out of the house. The husband recovers all the ornaments he gave 
her while she was his wife. Divorced women may marry again by 
the same ceremony as widows. 

Inheritance — The Lonaris follow the Hindu law of inherit- 
ance. It is said, however, that an extra share is granted to the 
youngest son. 

Religion — In point of religion, the Lonaris are orthodox 
Hindus, worshipping the regular gods and belonging to the Warkari, 
Saiva or Vaishanava sects, according as to whether they observe the 
cult of Vithoba, Mahadeva, or Vishnu. Khandoba, whose principal 



LONARI 407 

shrine is at Jejuri in the Poena District, is their favourite deity, to whom 
offerings of flowers, yellow powder (hhandara) and sweets are made 
every Saturday and Monday. The god is worshipped with great 
pomp annually on the Sat holiday, which falls on the 6th of the light 
half of Margashirsha, when goats are sacrificed to him and Waghes, 
his special devotees, are feasted in his name. Mari Ai, the goddess 
presiding over cholera, and Sitala Mata, the goddess of smallpox, 
are propitiated with a vaViety of animal offerings, when these epidemics 
break out in the family. The worship of animistic objects, such as 
the Jobra on Nagpanchami, or the 5th of Sravana (September), tuhi 
plant or sacred basil (Ocimum sancium), the lOadh or banyan [Ficus 
bengalensis) and the pipal {Ficus religiosa) is relegated to women. The 
members of the caste observe all the Hindu festivals and make 
pilgrimages to Pandharpur, Alandi, Jejuri, Tuljapur, and even to 
Benares if means permit. Desha^tha Brahmins are employed for 
religious and ceremonial purposes. 

Disposal of, the Dead — The dead bodies are disposed of 
either by cTem.ation or burial. Persons dying of cholera and smallpox, 
women in child-birth and children under three years of age are 
buried. When burial is resorted to, the corpse is laid in the grave 
in a lying posture, with the head pointing south. In the case of 
cremation, the dead body is placed, face upwards, on a pyre made 
of dung cakes or faggots, which is ignited by the chief mourner. 
The ashes are collected on the third day after death and thrown 
into a sacred stream. On the 10th day, Sradha is performed and 
balls of rice are offered to the departed spirit. On the thirteenth 
day, a feast is given to the caste people. Libations of water are 
poured in the names of the manes of departed ancestors on the 3rd 
of Vaishakha and on the last day of Bhadrapad. Mourning is 
observed 10 days for the near agnates. The son of the deceased or, 
if there is none, the chief mourner, shaves his moustache. 

Social Status Notwithstanding that they boast of their 

descent from the Maratha Kunbis, the social standing of the Lonaris 
is just below that of the latter, who will neither eat nor drink wiih 
them. Their degraded position is due, as has been already men- 
tioned, to the fact that they use donkeys for carrying their burdens. 



408 LONARI 

They drink country liquor and eat fish and the flesh of ^oats, sheep, 
fowl and hare, but abstain from beef and pork. They do not eat 
the leavings of any caste. 

The Lonaris have a caste council, presided over by a headman 
called chaudhari. All questions bearing on the social usages of 
the caste are laid before them for decision, and disregard of their 
orders may, in extreme cases, be punished by excommunication. 
Ordinarily, however, a fine is inflicted, whfch is spent in giving a 
feast to the members of the caste. The members of the caste do 
not wear the sacred thread. ' 

Occupation — The traditional occupation of the caste appears 
to have been that or lime and charcoal burning, and cement making, 
to which they still adhere. A nodular lime-stone, called k<''ik<i>'t 's 
extensively found in the black soil of the Parbhani, Bhir and 
Aurangabad Districts. The stone is broken into small fragments ; 
alternate layers of wood and these fragments are laid in a circular 
brick kiln, with a hole at the bottom for the introduction of fire, and 
the kiln is left burning for nearly a week, at the end of which period 
the lime is removed. The fuel generally cons'sls of wood and 
charcoal, and is used in the proportion of 40 maunds to every 75 
maunds of lime-stone, and the yield is about 50 maunds of well- 
burnt lime. The mode of preparing charcoal is to set on fire a heap 
of wood, and, after allowing it to burn for some time, to quench it 
either by water or by heaping earth upon it. The woods of the 
babul {Acacia arahica), tamarind (Tamarindus indica), k.hair (Acacia 
catechu) and other hard-wooded trees, yield excellent charcoals for 
domestic purposes, while those of bamboos and the stems of palmyra 
leaves, are said to furnish the best charcoals for ironsmiths. The 
lime and charcoal thus made is sold in the bazar. A few of the 
Lonaris have taken to cultivation, holding lands as occupancy or 
non-occupancy raiats and working as agricultural labourers. 



LX 

• Madiga 

(Male Titles : Appa, Ayya. Female Title : Amma.) 
Madiga, Madigowd, Madigaru, Madru, Dher, Chandal, 
Antyaja, Ettlwandlu, Peddintiwandlu, Panchamollu, Matangi 
Makallu, Gosangi, Kamathi, Bendar, Chambhar — a very numerous 
caste of leather-workers and rope-makers, many of whom are engaged 
as village watchmen and musicians. They are to be found scattered 
all over the Telugu and the Karnatic portions of H. H. the Nizam's 
Dominions, and correspond, in every detail, to the Mang caste of 
the Maratha Districts. Some of the synonyms, which stand 
at the head . of this article have reference to the occupations the 
members of the caste have pursued. The name ' Ettiwandlu ', for 
example, signifies those who do the etti or begari (forced) work. 
' Chambhar ' is a corruption of the Sanskrit word ' Charmakar,' which 
means ' a worker in leather ' , and the word ' Kamathi ' indicates 
that they are menials. Some, such as, ' Chandal,' ' Antyaja ' 
(lowest born), ' Gosangi ' {gao, cow, and hansaka, killer), and 
' Dher ' are opprobrious titles applied to them by others to indicate 
their lowest status in Hindu society. To dignify themselves, the 
members of the caste have assumed such epithets as Matangi 
Makkalu, the children of Matangi, the daughter of their mythical 
ancestor Jambavan ; Panchamollu, or members of the fifth caste, as 
distinguished from the four shastric divisions of mankind (Brahman, 
Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra) ; and Peddintiwandlu, or dwellers 
in big houses. Madigas, who are enrolled in the Indian army, call 
themselves Bendars, with the object of concealing their true caste. 

Origin The etymology of the name ' Madiga ' is uncertain, 

although attempts are made to derive it from the word ' Matanga , 
the name of an aboriginal tribe, mentioned by ancient authorities as 
descended from the illicit connection of a Plava father and Antivasiya 



410 Madiga 

mother. The legends of the Madigas, probably of rec;ent invention, 
give no clue to their origin or early history. According to one, the 
Madigcis trace their parentage to Jambavant, who was believed to be 
the primeval creation of Narayen, the supreme god, and to have 
existed when the whole world was water and there was neither the 
earth, nor the sun, nor other luminaries. Jambavant once perspired, 
and from the perspiration came forth ' Adi Shakti ' (primeval energy), 
who laid three eggs, from which sprang' Brahma, Vishnu, and 
Mahesha. Brahma created ten sages who became the progenitors of 
mankind. The names of these Maha Munis are : — (1) Chapala, (2) 
Taraila, (3) Brahma, (4) Neela, (5) Paia, (6) Bhadrachi, (7) 
Raktachi, (8) Gola, (9) Jamadagni and (10) Parshuram, and from 
the first sprang the Madigas, while the Brahmans are the descendants 
of the last. Another story relates that Jambavant (Zalazam) had 
seven sons; Brahma, with a view to create the world and people 
it, killed Heppu Muni, one of the sons, and from the mixture of his 
blood with water evolved the solid earth. Brahma»then killed another 
son named Jala Muni and his life stream changed into a' stream of 
water. The mountains were created from Ghata Muni's blood, blood 
from Rakat Muni, milk from Pal a Muni, and an indigo colour from 
Neela Muni, until at last from the blood of Gava Muni came the 
Madigas, the first representatives of mankind. A third account states, 
that, once upon a time, when Parvati and Parameshwar were on a 
ramble, Parvati becoming unclean, was obliged to leave her menstrual 
clothes under a tree and from these garments sprang Chinnaya, whom 
the heavenly pair engaged to tend their divine cow, Kamadhenu. 
Chinnaya once tasted the cow's milk and found it so delicious that 
he was ten-pted to kill the cow itself and eat its flesh. He imme- 
diately carried his impious design into effect, but the carcass of the 
cow was so heavy that none, not even the gods, could move it. 
Siva thought of Jambavant who was practising penance, and called 
out to him, ' Mahadigaru ' (lit — a great one come down). Jambavant, 
who thus obtained the name Mahadiga or Madiga, appeared at 
Siva's call, lifted the dead body, and cut it into pieces. Siva 
ordered Chinnaya to dress the beef, and invited all the gods to a 
feast. But Chinnaya, unfortunately, while trying to blow down an 



Madiga 411 

effervescence, ^at into the cooking p)ot and the gods, observing this, 
left the dining hall. Siva, in anger, cuised both Chinnaya and 
Jambavant for their negligence and degraded them to the lowest 
taste. Chinnaya's descendants are called Malas, while Jambavant 
became the ancestor of the Madigas, and as Jambavant ate the 
leavings of Chinnaya and drank water after him, the Madigas are 
ranked below the Malas in point of social standing 

Internal StructUfe.:_The Madigas have two main divisions 
Canara Madigas, and Telugu Madigas, who neither intermarry nor 
eat together. Each of these is broken up into numerous sub-tribes 
which vary greatly in different districts. Some of these are shown 
below : — 



(1) 


Madiga 


(13) 


Jogi 


(2) 


Dappu Madiga. 


(14) 


Kajawad 


(3) 


Periki Madiga 


(15) 


Velpulawad 


(4) 


Dasri Madiga 


(16) 


Komuwad 


(5) 


Jangam Madiga 


(17) 


Koya Madiga 


^) 


Mashti Madiga 


(18) 


Bedar Madiga 


(7) 


Sindollu or 


(19) 


Sangar 




Bogam Madiga 


(20) 


Unja 


(8) 


Bindiawad 


(2!) 


Vishturi 


(9) 


Dakkalawad 


(22) 


Anpa 


(10) 


Penda Madiga 


(23) 


Ashadoru or Sandewad 


(11) 


Lambada Madiga 


(24) 


Bengali Madiga 


(12) 


Karikuldawru 


(25) 


Kullu Kundalawad. 



This list is in no way exhaustive. The Madiga community is 
a large one and distributed over a very extensive area, and to this 
fact are probably due the numerous groups into which it is divided. 
The origin of these sub-castes is obscure and very difficult; of deter- 
mination owing to the extreme repulsion with which the caste is 
regarded by all Hindus. Some of the names, such as Lambada, 
Koya, Bedar have reference to the castes from which the sub-castes 
have been recruited, while others are based upon the professions the 
sub-castes have followed. 

The Madiga sub-caste, found everywhere m the Karnatic and 
Telingana, represents, probably, the original nucleus of the caste. 



412 Madiga 

They earn their livelihood by making sandals, leather ropes and 
buckets and other leather articles. 

The Mashti Madiga, jaladohi, are story tellers and beggars, 
occasionally exhibiting acrobatic feats before the public. 

The Sindollu, Chindiwandlu, or Bogam Madiga, are the courte- 
zans of the Madiga caste ; they attend all Madiga ceremonies and 
entertain the public by singing and dancing. They maintain them- 
selves also by prostitution. Their name Sindi, or Sindollu, is said to 
be derived from ' Sairandhri,' the Sanskrit word for prostitute.' 

The Ashadoru, or Sandewad, are vagrant beggars who obtain 
alms by performing plays based upon stories from the BfiagWat. 

The Bengali Madigas are a wandering class of jugglers and 
conjurers and appear to have no cormection with the Madigas, but 
derive their name from Bengal, whence they probably came. They 
are doubtless enrolled among the Madigas because they occupy the 
lowest position in Hindu society. 

The Bindalas, or Bindlawad, discharge the'functions of priests to 
the Madiga caste and perform their religious rites to 'the music of 
the jamadke, a musical instrument characteristic of their profession. 
Occasionally, they profess to be possessed and to fortell events and 
exorcise ghosts. 

The Penda Madigas are sweepers by profession. 

The Dappu Madigas seem to be identical with the Lambada 
Madigas, and are attached to each Lambada tanda (camp). They 
act as musicians to the Banjara tribes, playing at their religious cere- 
monies, on the daphada, a sort of drum. 

The Karikuldawaru make articles from horns. 

The Jogis, or joginis, are boys and girls devoted to the service 
of particular deities in fulfilment of vows made in sickness or 
affliction. The girls, after their dedication, take openly to prosti- 
tution and incur no social disgrace on that account. 

The Periki Madigas assert that they are so called because their 
ancestors ran away from the marriage of Vashistha and Arundhati 
to escape the rain of fire that fell on the occasion. 

The Kullu Kundalawad are so called because they are engaged 
as carriers of earthen pots filled with shendi (the juice of the wild 



Madiga 413 

date palm) to the market. This occupation has degraded them and 
no pure Madiga will eat or marry with them. 

The Dasri Madigas are gurus, or spiritual advisers to those 
Madigas who profess to belong to the Vaishanava sect. They 
occupy the highest social level among the caste and stand in hyper- 
gamous relation to their disciples. They abstain from beef. 

The Jangam Madigas trace their lineage from Nulka Chandaya, 
who was the first Madiga proselyte to the Lingayit creed. Nulka 
Chandaya was a devout worshipper of the god Siva, and fed Jangams 
daily with the money he earned by selling ropes and 
sandals and Siva, as an act of grace, made him a Jangam. The 
Jangam Madigas claim for themselves the highest social position, and 
minister to the spiritual needs of the Shaiva Madigas or Madiga 
Vibhutidharis. Like the Dasris, they abstain from beef, and do not 
interdine with other members of the caste. It is said that they 
accept girls in marriage from other sub-castes, but do not give their 
own daughters in return. 

The Dakkalawads are wandering beggars, who appear to be a 
degraded branch of =the Madigas and beg only from them. They are 
also the genealogists or custodians of the gotras of their parent caste. 
Regarding their origin, it is said that Heppu Muni, the eldest son of 
Jambavant, after being killed by Brahma for the creation of worlds, 
was restored to life by his father, but was degraded and condemned to 
subsist by begging from, and reciting the mythical history of, the 
Madiga and Manga castes. They extract alms as an hereditary right, 
and should any Madiga decline to give them their due, they 
mount his effigy on a bamboo pole and set it up in front of his 
house. Standing in the neighbourhood, they hurl at him 
horrible imprecations and curses ; he remains under the ban of his 
caste and no one dares to maintain any communication with him until 
he thoroughly satisfies the demands of the refractory beggars. The 
Dakkalawads say that they have only one gotra ' Gangadhar.' They 
bear an evil reputation as criminals and are vigilantly watched by the 
police. They are regarded as outcastes by the Madigas and are not 
allowed to enter their quarters, but they pitch their huts of bamboo 
mats at a distance from the Madiga houses. 



414 Madiga 

The Gond Madigas, Koya Madigas, Lambada Madigas and 
Bedar Madigas may either represent the lowest strata of their 
respective tribes, or they may be originally Madrgas who were 
converted to, and were gradually absorbed into, their adopted tribes. 
The members of these sub-castes do not intermarry, although inter- 
dining in certain cases is allowable. 

The exogamous sections of the caste are mostly of the territorial 
type, but some of them are totemistic, although the totems are not 
generally held as taboo by the members of the sections bearing 
their names. 

A few of the sections are as follows : — 
Territorial. Totemistic. 

Mukapalli. Ullello (onions). 

Yelpukonda. Kumollu (horn). 

Malangurollu. Amdyarollu (castor plant). 

Kunagoilawaru. Gatollu (hill). 

Sultanpurwaru. KatkooroUu (sword). 

Boyampalliwaru. Gaddapollu (beard). 

Nagaipalliwaru. Awalollu (cow). 

Danduwaru. 
Pasupalliwaru. 

A Madiga cannot marry outside the sub-caste nor inside the 
section to which he belongs. This simple rule of exogamy is sup- 
plemented and a man may marry the daughter of his elder sister or 
maternal uncle or paternal aunt. Two sisters may ciso be married 
to the same m?in. 

Members of other castes are received by the Madigas into 
their community by their giving a feast to the Madigas of the 
neighbourhood. Before the feast, a betel leaf is cut on the tongue 
of the novice who is subsequently required to wait upon his new 
associates, to eat with them and remove their dishes. The hut in 
which this ceremony takes place is burnt. 

Marriage — The Madigas practise both infant and adult marriage, 
but the former usage is deemed the more respectable and is gradually 
coming into vogue. Girls for whom husbands cannot be procured, 
or who are vowed by their parents to the tervice of temples, are 



Madiga 415 

dedicated to their tutelary deities. Such girls are called Joginis or 
Basavis, and are sometimes married to an idol and sometimes to a 
dagger. The girl, who is to undergo the ceremony, is dressed in 
new clothes and taken to the temple. Her forehead is smeared with 
kunkum (red lead powder), a lighted lamp is waved round the idol or 
the dagger, and the girl, bearing the lamp on her head, walks three 
times round the symbol of the deity. The Joginis become prosti- 
tutes, but their children are admitted to the full privileges enjoyed 
by the legitimate members of the caste. Unmarried girls, becoming 
pregnant, are also devoted to the service of gods. A girl on attaining 
puberty is unclean for five days. On the 5th day she bathes, touches 
a green leaf and becomes ceremonially pure. 

Polygamy is recognised, and a man is permitted to marry ai 
many wives as he can afford to maintain. The second wife is usually 
a widow or a divorcee. A bride-price, varying in amount from 
Rs. 5 to Rs. 15, is paid to the parents of the girl. 

The marriage ceremony differs in different districts, but in each 
district it is a copy of the ritual in vogue among the middle classes 
of Hindus. ' 

The initiative towards marriage is taken by the bridegroom's 
father, who sends a party of five men to select a suitable girl for 
his son and settle the match. After the girl is selected, the boy's 
father, with his relatives, goes to the girl's house and presents her 
with a sari and a choli. in confirmation of the match, the caste 
panchas are entertained with Ifhushali, or drink, the expenses of 
which are shared by both, the bridegroom's father contributing double 
that of the bride's father. A Brahman astrologer is consulted, and 
a lucky day is fixed for the celebration of the wedding. A goat is 
killed as a sacrifice to Pochamma, who is worshipped with offerings 
of the goat's blood mixed witli a quantity of liquor. The goat's 
head becomes the perquisite of a dhohi (washerman) while the body 
is cooked and partaken of by the members of the family. Other 
deities, such as Ellamma, Pedamma, Mutyallamma and ancestral 
spirits, are invoked to bless the betrothed couple. On the appointed 
day, the bride is taken in procession to the bridegroom's house where, 
on arrival, the salawadi, the priest of the caste, lifts her from the 



416 Madiga 

horse, waves rice and turmeric round her face, sprinkles water on her 
body and places her on a seat under a wedding canopy of eleven posts. 
At the auspicious moment fixed for the wedding, the bridal pair are 
made to stand face to face, in a large bamboo basket, containing 
Indian millet, and a cloth is thrown over them so as to conceal their 
faces from the assembled guests. In this position, they are encircled 
five times, twice, with raw cotton thread. After this has been done, 
the cloth is removed and the young couple are taken out of the basket. 
The cotton thread is made into two bracelets (kankams) and one 
of them is fastened, with a piece of turmefic, on the wrist of the 
bridegroom and the other, in like manner, on that of the bride. This 
simple primitive usage is followed by an ortiiodox one, and the c&uple 
are made to stand face to face on a wooden plank, a cloth is held 
between them and the mehetarya, or elderly member of the caste, 
officiating as priest, throws grains five times over their heads. This 
last ritual is believed to be the essepijal portion of the ceremony and 
is followed by other rites, including Myalapolu, Kottanam, Brahma- 
modi, Dandya, Panpu. NagocUy, Vappagintha, Vadibium and others, 
all of which have already been fully described in the articles on other 
castes The ceremony is closed with a feasi, at which a « great deal 
of drinking and merry-makinE prevails. 

In the Karnatic. the marriage ceremony comprises : — 

(1) Pod. — The goddess Ellamma is invoked and a piece of 

leather is tied, in her honour, about the neck of an old 
woman. 

(2) Nischiiartha. — The confirmation of the betrothal, at which 

the girl is presented with Rs. 2 by the bridegroom's party. 
(3^ HogHoppa. — ^The fixing of an aulspicious day for the 
celebration of the wedding. 

(4) Uditomba. — The girl is presented with cocoanuts and rice 

and escorted in procession to the house of the bridegroom. 

(5) Patiarshina. — The bridal pair are smeared with turmeric 

paste and oil, and \ank.anams (thread bracelets) are 
fastened on their wrists. 

(6) Maniaoana. — The bridal pair, with their mothers, are 

nibbed with oil and bathed, being seated within a 



Madiga 417 

square formed by placing four earthen vessels filled with 
water at the four corners and by passing a cotton thread 
seven times round their necks. The thread is removed, 
and with it, as well as with a pearl, the water from the 
pots is sprinkled on their heads. This ceremony is 
known as Mani-neera or pearl-water. The maternal uncle 
of the bridegroom then plants a twig of the banyan 
{Ficus bengalensis) under the booth and worships it. 

(7) Gone. — The "bride and the bridegroom stand facing each 

other in bamboo baskets containing Indian millet (jawart) 
and a figure of ' Nandi ' (Shiva's bull) is traced on the 
ground between there. Some milk is poured on the 
heads of the couple and the mangahutra (lucky thread) 
is tied about the girl's neck by the Jangam or Dasri, who 
officiates as priest. The bride and bridegroom then 
sprinkle rice over each other's head and this forms the 
binding portion of the ceremony. 

(8) B/iuma.-*— Wheat cakes and sweets are offered to the patron 

deity and four persons of the bridegroom's party and five 
of the bride's are required to eat the offerings. Any- 
thing remaining is buried underground. 

(9) Mirongi. — The bridegroom, on horseback, and the bride, 

on foot, go in procession to Hanuman's temple and, 
after worshipping the god, return home. 

(10) A square is formed by placing an earthen pot at each 

corner and a cotton thread is passed round. Within this, 
the wedded couple are seated and bathed, their kflnkfl- 
nams are untied and then transferred to the banyan twig 
previously planted under the booth, 

(11) Chagol. — The feast given to the caste people and rela- 

tives of the bride, after which the bride leaves her 
husband's house, where the wedding ceremony was per- 
formed, and goes to her father's house. This rite com- 
pletes the marriage ceremonies. 
Tera, or bride-price, varying from Rs. 7 to Rs. 100, is paid 
to the girl's parents. 
27 



418 Madiga 

The Dakkalwad marriage presents some interesting features. 
The bridle and bridegroom, dressed in wedding clothes an4 with their 
garments knotted, walk three times round a wooden pestle placed 
beneath the marriage canopy. They are then seated beside the 
pestle and grains of rice are thrown on their heads by the assembled 
relatives and guests. Upon this, the couple undergo ablution and 
the bridegroom ties the pusti (mangalsutra) about the bride's neck, the 
women of the household singing songs all the while. The father of 
the girl receives Rs. 10 as the price of his daughter. 

WldoW'Marriage. — Widows are allowed to marry again, but 
they are not expected to marry their deceased husband's youflger 
brother. On a dark night, the bridegroom's party go to the widow's 
house, present her with a white sari, choli and bangles and escort 
her to the bridegroom's house. There the couple are bathed, and 
the bridegroom ties a pusti of gold round the widow's neck. Next 
morning the pair conceal themselves in a forest grove, and at night 
return to their house. After her marriage, a widow cannot claim the 
custody of her children by her late husband. 

Divorce. — Divorce is fjermitted, generally, on the ground of the 
wife's adultery, and is effected by driving her out of the house before 
the caste Pancha\)at. Divorced women are allowed to marry again by 
the same rites as widows. The morality of the Madiga women is, 
however, very lax ; adultery among them is not looked upon with 
abhorrence and is usually punished only with a nominal fine. 

Inheritance — Among the Madigas, the devolution of property 
is governed by the Hindu law of inheritance. A Jogini, or dedi- 
cated girl, shares her father's property equally with her brothers, with 
succession to her children. Wills are unknown. A childless man 
usually adopts his brother's son, failing whom, any boy of his own 
section, but in any case the adopted boy must be younger than the 
adopter. 

Religion — The Madigas are still animistic in their belief, and 
pay more reverence to the deities of diseases and ghosts and spirits 
of deceased persons, than to the great gods of the Hindu pantheon. 
Their tribal deity is Matangi, who is believed to be the female 
progenitor of the caste. Regarding her, it is said that she gave 



Madiga 419 

protection to Renuka, when the latter was pursued by her son 
Parshuram fit his father's command. Parshuram, in wrath, cut off 
Matangi's nose, which was immediately restored to her by Renuka. 
Since then, Renuka, in the form of Ellamma, has been revered as 
their patron deity by the caste. Next in honour to Matangi are, Mari 
Amma, Murgamma or Durgamma, the goddess presiding over chil- 
dren, whose worship has been fully described in the report on the 
Manga caste, Pochamma, the deity of small-pox, Maisamma, Ellamma, 
Gauramma, and Mahakalamma. To Mari Amma are offered goats 
and bull-buffaloes in the month of Ashadha. Pochamma is worshipped 
on Mondays, Ellamma on Tuesdays, and Maisamma on Sundays, 
with offerings of goats, buffaloes, fowls and liquors, which are subse- 
quently partaken of by the votaries themselves. Bindlas officiate as 
priests, and perform all religious and ceremonial observances. 

Besides these greater animistic deities, the Madigas propitiate a 
number of ghostly powers, with a variety of sacrifices, Erakala women 
being engaged to identify and lay the troubling ghost. Honour 
is also done by .the members of the caste to the standard Hindu 
gods, amtjng whom may be especially mentioned Hanuman and 
Mahadeva. Muhammadan saints and pirs are also appeased by the 
members of the caste. 

Like other Telaga castes, the Madigas are divided between 
Tirmanidharis and Vibhutidharis. The Tirmanidharis are under the 
guidance of Mala Dasris, while the Vibhutidharis, or Shaivaits, 
acknowledge Mala Jangams as their spiritual gurus. 

Disposal of the Dead — The dead are usually buried, except 
in the case of women in pregnancy and lepers, who Me burnt. 
Married agnates are mourned for ten days, and unmarried for three 
days. No Sradha is performed, but birds are fed with cooked flesh 
on the 3rd day after death. During the period of mourning, the 
chief mourner may not eat flesh, molasses, oil or turmeric nor may 
he sleep on a bed. On the 10th day after death, a feast is given 
to the caste people and purification is obtained. It is said that the 
Namdharis burn their dead in a lying posture, with the head pointing 
to the south, collect the ashes and bones on the 3rd day after death, 
and either throw them into a sacred stream or bury them underground. 



420 Madiga 

Bindalwads are employed to perform the funeral rites. 

Social Status — The social rank of the Madigas is the lowest 
in the Hindu social system. They eat the leavings of any caste 
except the Erakalas, Domars, Pichakuntalas, Buruds, Jingars and 
Panchadayis, while no caste except the Dakalwads, their own sub- 
division, will eat food cooked by them. They live on the outskirts 
of villages, in thatched one-storied housef, with only one entrance 
door. Their habits are very dirty, and their quarters extremely 
filthy. The village barber will not shave their heads nor will the 
village washerman wash their clothes and they have to employ 
barbers and washermen from among their own community. Their 
touch is regarded as unclean by all respectable classes, and a 
Brahman touched by a Madiga is required to obtain purification by 
bathing himself, washing his clothes and changing his sacred thread 
for a new one. The diet of a iVladiga is in keeping with his 
degraded position and he eats beef, horse flesh, pork, fowls, mutton, 
and the flesh of animals which have died a natural death. The bear, 
as a representative of their ancestor Jambavant, ij held in special 
respect, and no Madiga will injure or kill the animal. 

Occupation — The original occupation of the caste is believed 
to be the skinning of dead animals, leather dressing and the making 
of leather ropes, leather buckets for hauling water from wells and 
other leather articles used in husbandry. Like the Malas they are field 
servants, and supply the farmers with the above articles, for which 
they get, as their perquisite, a fixed quantity of grain for each plough. 
They make shoes of various kinds, but especially chapals (sandals) 
of which they produce the best varieties. They are engaged as 
scavengers, village watchmen, guides, executioners and begaris, or 
forced coolies. They also serve as musicians at the maniage and 
other ceremonies of high caste' Hindus. Their right to carcasses is 
often disputed by the Malas and tedious litigations result. At some 
places they hold Inam lands, in lieu of services rendered by them to 
the village community as messengers and carriers. They also work 
as village criers, announcing by beat of drum {da^ada) any public 
orders. Some of them get enrolled in the Indian army, where they 
pass under the name of Bedars or Gosangi Bantus. Many serve as 
menials in the houses of Muhammadan landlords. A few only have 
taken to agriculture. 



LXI 

Mahar 

•(Title : Naik.) 

Mahar, Mhar, Dher, Bhumia (guide), Yesker (gate-keeper), 
Taral (watchman), ' Dharni che put ' (sons of the soil) — form, like 
the'Malas of Telingana, the great labouring caste of the Marathawada 
country and are found in every village of the province. 

History. — They are without doubt the oldest inhabitants of the 
country and are a distinctly aboriginal race with dark skins and rough 
features. They are generally tall, strong and muscular. They have 
probably given their name to Maharashtra, which is derived by some 
as ' Maha Rashtra ' or the country of the Mahars. 

The Mahar. is, as he claims to be, an indispensible factor of 
village life. " He is the very first man appealed to, whether it be 
about a murder or a robbery, a burglary or a boundary dispute. He 
is the incarnation of the traditions and history of his village and, 
though he is despised and condemned to live outside the village, 
fearful of letting his defiling shadow fall on the Brahman, the latter 
well knows he can do nothing without him. He holds lands — the 
worst in the village — on hereditary tenure and is entitled by prescrip- 
tion to certain grain allov.'ances. A stranger or a traveller comes — 
' Maharala bolawa ' (call the Mahar). A robbery occurs — ' Maharas 
vichara ' (ask the Mahar). Who owns this field ? What are the 
boundaries? 'Maharas mahit ahe' (the Mahar knows) — and so on." 
"In all Maharashtra there is no class on the whole so reliable, so 
trusty, so honest, so hard-working as the Mahar. Ask any British 
officer of any service, who makes the best ghorawalla, or horse- 
keeper, or who was his most reliable servant. The answer will be, 
"the Mahar.' " 

The derivation of the name ' Mahar ' is uncertain, but it may 
have been the tribal name of one of the aboriginal races. Several 



422 Mahar 

legends are current regarding their origin. According to one, they 
are one of the four cow-bom castes, and when the cow asked her 
sons how they would treat her when she died, the first threef answered 
that they would worship her, but the fourth said he would bear her 
inside of him. The honor struck brothers called him ' Mahahar ' 
(great eater) which was abbreviated into Mahar. Another story states 
that while Parvati was bathing, her touch turned some drops of blood 
on a bel leaf [/Egle Marmelos) into a handsome babe. The child 
was named Mahamuni by Mahadeva. One day, it crawled out of 
the house and seeing a dead cow began to eat it. Mahadeva was 
horrified, cursed him and condemned him to live on the outskirts of 
villages and to eat carcasses, and called him Mahahar, or great eater. 
Internal Structure — The Mahars are divided into several sub- 
castes, the members of which neither interdine nor intermarry. In 
the Aurangabad Subah the chief sub-castes are : Somas, Andhwans 
and Tilwans. The Somas, or Somawanshas, claim to be of the 
highest dignity, professing to derive their name from ' Soma ' or the 
moon. The members of the sub-caste regard the pig with traditional 
reverence, neither killing the animal nor eating its flesh. The oath of 
the pig is also deemed very sacred by them. The Andhwans say 
they came from Berar and their name suggests a connection with 
Andhs, the Hinduised brand of Gonds. They are said to have been 
descended from a widow. The members of the sub-caste hold the 
tiger in extreme reverence, regarding an oath on it as binding. The 
affinities of the Tilwans cannot be traced. In the Adilabad District 
two sub-castes appear to exist ' Mahar Winker,' also called 
Bamaniya Mahars,' who are weavers by profession, and ' Ladwan 
Mahars.' who are supposed to be immigrants from ' Lat,' a name 
by which the tract of country round Broach (Gujerat) was known in 
ancient times. The Mahar Jangams, also found in Adilabad, are an 
offshoot from the Mahar Winkers. The members of this sub-caste 
profess to be Lingayits in creed and act as money-lenders and bankers 
to the Raj Gond and Kolam tribes of the hilly tracts. Besides these 
sub-castes, there are others, such as Anant Kule (descended from a 
Mahar Murli), Bavne, Bavise, Dharmik and Pans, all of whom are 
found in very small numbers in these dominions. 



Mahar 



423 



The section names of the caste are not totemistic, but are either 
territorial or refer to some act on the part of their founders. Speci- 
mens of these names are shown below :^- 

Exogamom sections. 



Somas. 


Andhawans. 


Ladwans. 


Winkers 


Jondhale. 


Khillor. , 


Dethya. 


Mohaker. 


Bhadarge. 


Wadhawe. 


Waghmarya. 


Dingarya. 


Jogadande. 


Hatker. 


Nadya. 


Durgya. 


Hanumate. 


Ghonde. 


Malkhadya. 


Ramtakya. 


Gaikwad. 


Kambale. 


Ondaker. 


Zadya. 


Sonatakke.. 


Ingole. 


Karmanker. 


Piryadya. 


Awasrunle. 


Dhuldhawane. 


Pareka. 


Kondaguila. 


Chaudante. 


Padd. 


Umrya. 


Piprya. 


Sarode. 




Paddharya. 


Borkutya. 


TjJiwar. 




Jiwanya. 




Mule. 




Lokhandya. 




Lambane. 


• 


Bhaktya. 




Chondhe! 




Teltumdya. 




Khandare. 




Tumberya. 





Among all the sub-castes the law of exogamy is strictly observed 
and a man cannot marry a woman belonging to his own section. A 
man may marry the daughter of his mother's brother or father's 
sister, but he cannot marry the daughter of his mother's sister. Two 
brothers may marry two sisters. 

Marriage — Generally, Mahar girls are married as infants and 
adult marriage is resorted to only in cases where the girl's parents 
are too poor to get her married before she has reached the age ol 
puberty. It is customary to dedicate girls to Khandoba and such are 
subsequently called Murlis. Among the Aurangabad Mahars, the 
marriage ceremony is of the orthodox type and conforms to the rites 
common among the Maratha Kunbis. A Mahar Gosavi officiates as 
priest. During the ceremony, the bridegroom is wrapped in a black 
blanket. The Mahar Winkers follow the usage current among the 
Khaira Kunbis of Adilabad. The Ladwan Mahars tacitly tolerate 
sexual intercourse between unmarried people, but if the girl becomes 



424 Mahar 

pregnant her lover is compelled to marry her. Their marriage 
ceremony comprises several usages of special interest.' After the 
preliminary negotiations have been completed and a bride-price of 
Rs. 11 has been paid to the parents of the girl, an auspicious day 
for the marriage is fixed by consulting a Brahman. Previous to the 
wedding, and before the marriage booth is erected, a small shed of 
mango twigs is constructed in the innef courtyard of the house. 
Beneath this shed d square of jaWari flour is drawn and sprinkled over 
with k'l^kp'^ and gulal powders. Before this square are placed five 
dough lamps, five dry dates, a like number of areca nuts and betel- 
leaves. A sheep, smeared over with turmeric and decked with flower 
wreaths, is sacrificed over the shed, so that its blood trickles down 
through the mango twigs over the square of jaWari flour beneath. 
The whole is subsequently removed and thrown outside the house 
and the spot is smeared clean with cowdung. This singular cere- 
mony is known as Anganadevi. On the wedding day, five married 
couples are made to observe a fast and to take their meals at evening, 
out of the same plate. This is called Ohorpitar. The wedding 
takes place at night, at the bridegroom's house, and, as the auspicious 
hour for the ceremony arrives, some sesamum oil is poured into ihe 
noses of the bride and of the bridegroom and they are made to stand 
facing each other, the bride on a low wooden stool and the bride- 
groom on a yoke, and a Mahar Joshi unites them in wedlock by 
sprinkling jaWari grains over their heads. 

Widow-Marriage — In point of polygamy, the Mahars profes.s 
that a man is allowed to take as many wives as he can afford to 
maintain. A widow is allowed to marry again and, except among 
the Ladwan Mahars and the Mahar Winkers, she is not required 
to marry her late husband's younger or elder brother. But, in such 
cases, she forfeits all claims to the custody of her children by her 
late husband. The ceremony in use at the marriage of a widow is 
simple, consisting of the smearing of the couple with turmeric powder 
and the tying of their garments into a knot. The bridegroom then 
puts a string of glass beads round the bride's neck and the ceremony 
is concluded. 

Divorce. — Divorce is permitted on the ground of the wife's 



Mahar 425 

unchaslity, or if the couple cannot get on together. A divorced 
woman may niarry again, but not before her first husband has recovered 
the amount he spent on her as a virgin. 

Inheritance — In matters of inheritance, the Mahars follow the 
Hindu law. 

Religion — The religion of the Mahars is in a transitory state, 
passing from primitive animjsm into popular Hinduism. Their prin- 
cipal deity is Mari Ai (the goddess of cholera) to whom fowls, sheep, 
and buffaloes are offered in the month of Ashadha and on festive 
occasbns. On full and new moon days, the spirits of deceased 
ancestors are propitiated in the form of taks, or embossed images on 
silver or copper plates. Among their other gods may be mentioned 
Masoba, Khandoba, Bhairoba, Chokhoba, Chedoba, Bhavani and 
Mesai. Votaries of all sects are found among them and, as Saivaits, 
they worship Mahadeva, under the presidency of Mahar Jangams, 
and, as Warkaris, they worship Vithoba of Pandharpur (the incarna- 
tion of Vishnu) and his consort Rakhamai. Some of them belong to 
the Manbhao sect and a few are the followers of Kabir. The 
disciples of Chokhamela wear round their necks garlands of the tuhi 
plant (Ocimxim sanctum) and beads and dance and sing songs in 
honour of the saint. These make pilgrimages to Alandi in the Poona 
and Pandharpur in the Sholapur Districts. The Saivait Mahars visit 
the temple of Mahadeva at Shinganapur in the Satara District. The 
Mahars have spiritual advisors, or gurus, belonging to their own caste, 
whose advice they are required to take. Both boys and girls, before 
they are a year old, are taken to the guru with a cocoanut, some 
grains of rice, flowers and frankincense. The child's father marks 
the teacher's brow with sandal paste, worships him and presents him 
with the articles. The guru then takes the child on his knee and 
whispers into his right ear some mantras or mystic words. At this 
time, the priest either covers himself and the child with a cloth, 
or a curtain is held between them and the rest of the people. The 
Mahars have a strong belief in witch-craft and sorcery and ascribe 
all diseases and calamities to the working of ghosts and evil spirits. 
When a person is believed to be possessed by a spirit, exorcists are 
engaged to lay the possessing spirit. Usually, Brahmans take n« part 



426 Mahar 

in the religious and ceremonial observances of the caste and either 
the head of the household officiates as priest or a professional Mahar 
mendicant, a Jangam, or a Joshi, is called in. Occasionally, how- 
ever, Deshastha Brahmans are employed at the marriage ceremony. 

Child=Birth — ^A Mahar v/oman, after child-birth, is unclean 
for eleven days. On the fifth day after birth, a silver image repre- 
senting the goddess Satwai is set up on<a stone slab and worshipped 
with offerings of flowers and sweet food, and a feast is provided in 
her honour for five married women whose husbands are living. On 
the 12th day the mother and the child are bathed and the mother 
places, in the name of Satvvai, five stones under a tree, daubs them 
with red lead and burns frankincense before them. She smears the 
child's forehead with frankincense and ashes invoking the goddess 
to protect the child, walks three times round the stones and returns 
home. For the first three days after birth the mother is given a 
mixture of ' katbol ' (gum mynh) and leaves of nim {Melia mdica) 
and is fed on a diet of strained millet mixed with oil and molasses ; 
from the fifth she takes her ordinary food. On the fourth day the 
mother begins to suckle the child. 

Disposal of the Dead — The dead are usually buried, but 
occasionally burnt. Persons dying of cholera and small pox and those 
dying unmarried are buried. In the case of cremation, the ashes and 
bones are collected on the 3rd day after death and thrown into a 
river. Mourning is observed ten days for adults and three days for 
children or distant relatives. No Smdha is performed in honour of 
the deceased person. 

Social Status — The Maha^ stands at the bottom of the Hindu 
caste system. He lives on the outskirts of the village and his touch is 
deemed unclean by ail the respectable classes. The regular village 
servants decline to serve him, as they consider themselves defiled by 
his touch ; the caste is required to provide itself with barbers and 
washermen from among its own members. Although the Mahar 
occupies the lowest position in the Hindu community, he claims to be 
superior to Bhangis and Mangs and does not eat from the hands of 
Buruds, Mangs, Mochis and Bhangis. His ideas on food are in 
keeping with his degraded position. He eats beef, mutton, fowl, 



Mahar 427 

fish and the flesh of the buffalo, horse, deer, field rat, crocodile and 
of animals wh'ich have died a natural death ; but he abstains from 
pork and the flesh of the dog, the ass and the crow ; he also eats 
the leavings of all respectable classes and indulges freely in strong 
drinks. 

Occupations — Mahars are the predial slaves of villages and 
either hold grants of rent-frae lands or receive grain allowances, or 
Bakta, for the services tbey render. Their public duties as Yeskers, 
or Veskers, are to watch the boundaries and the village office, to 
carry iaovernment letters, to repair the village office and village gate 
(gaon-kosa), to sweep the village roads, and to serve as guides to 
Government officers passing through the village. The Mahars of a 
village either divide these duties among them, or serve at the village 
office in turn for one year, distributing the produce of the land 
amongst themselves. Their private services consist in cutting fire- 
wood, carrying letters and sweeping and cleaning court-y£u:ds in 
front of houses, and for these duties they are paid in cash or in 
cooked food. They have a monopoly of the village dead animals, 
of the shrouds used in covering the village dead and of the copper 
coins cast as largess in the name of the dead. Many Mahars have 
entered the native army and have risen to the rank of Jamadars and 
Subedars. Others are engaged by Europeans as domestic servants 
and grooms. They are also labourers, carriers of dead animals, culti- 
vators, scavengers, sellers of firewood, messengers and beggars. 
Mahar women, besides attending to their home duties, help the men 
in the field, but not in carrying or skinning dead animals. Many 
are engaged as day labourers. 



LXII 

Mala 

Mala, Dher, Antyaja, Panchama — a very numerous Telugu 
caste of menials and village servants, supposed to be identical with 
the Mahars of Maharashtra, the Holers of the Karnatic and the 
Pariahs of the Tamil country. Black in complexion, short and 
sturdy in physique, distinct from any other caste of the Dominions, 
the Malas probably represent the oldest inhabitants of the country. 
They are found in every village, living apart from other residents. 
As village messengers and watchmen they receive a part of the 
village Balutd. 

Origin. — The etymology of the name Mala is uncertain. Some 
derive it from the Sanskrit word Mala, which mdans dirt, and is said 
to refer to their traditionary origin from Parvati's menstrual clothes. 
Others suppose it to be a corruption of MailaWam, by which name 
the Melas, as scavengers, were formerly known. But to derive the 
word from the Canarese and Tamil Maler, a hill, is more conceiv- 
able, for it is not improbable that the people, as old dwellers on the 
soil, were driven to the hilly tracts by the pressure of later immi- 
grants and came to be known as Malas, or hillmen. Some of the 
Mala tribes, as Mala Aryans, still cling to the hilly tracts, which 
supports this view. 

The Madiga legend, ascribing the creation of the worlds aad 
mankind to Jambavant and his sons, makes a reference to the Malas, 
as being descended from ' Chinnaya,' born of Parvati's soiled clothes 
and the tender of Siva's cow Kamadhenu. Chinnaya killed the cow 
and for this offence he was degraded by Siva and condemned to 
become a cow-skinner and beef-eater. 

The Malas have other designations, such as Dher, by which 
they are known to the Mohamedans; Antyaja, of Sanskrit origin, 
signifying 'last bom,' or created after every other being had been 



Mala 



429 



brought into existence; Pancham, also a Sanskrit word, interpreted 
the fifth creatipn of god after the first four. Brahman, Kshatriya, 
Vaishya and Sudra, had been created. 

Internal Structure.— The Mala community is a large one and, 
being distributed over a wider range of country, has been broken up 
into numerous endogamous groups. Some of these are : 



(1) 


Andhawant. 


(20) 


Ladwant. 


(2) 


Are Mala. 


(21) 


Landa Mala. 


(3) 


Arva Mala. 


(22) 


Mala Ayyawar. 


(4) 


Badge Mala. 


(23) 


Mala Bogam. 


(5) 


begar Mala. 


(24) 


Mala Dasri. 


(6) 


Bhat Mala. 


(25) 


Mala Jangam or Chalwad 


(7) 


Birja Mala. 


(26) 


Mala Mannewar. 


(8) 


Boya Mala. 


(27) 


Mala Mashti. 


(9) 


Chalka Mala. 


(28) 


Nayatakani Mala. 


(10) 


Dadi Mala. 


(29) 


Pachi Mala. 


(11) 


Das Mala. 


(30) 


Pambalwad. 


(12) 


Dhol Mala. * 


(31) 


Racha Mala. 


(13) 


Gunta' Mala. 


(32) 


Shiva Kantha Mala. 


(14) 


Gurram Mala. 


(33) 


Somavanshi Mala. 


(15) 


Gurge Mala. 


(34) 


Telga Mala. 


(16) 


Hatker Mala. 


(35) 


Tilwan Mala. 


(17) 


Jethi Mala. 


(36) 


Tuka Mala. 


(18) 


Jina Mala. 


(37) 


Varne Mala. 


(19) 


Karne Mala. 







Are Malas. — Were originally Maratha Mahars who immigrated into 

Telangana and became permanent settlers into the country. 
Arva Mala. — Malas who have come from the Tamil country and 

settled among the Telugu Malas. 
Begar Mala. — They serve as ' Begaris' or free labourers. 
Bhat Malas. — Earn their livelihood by begging and singing praises 

in honour of Hindu gods. 
Das Mala. — Are carpenters. They do not eat from the hands of 

any other caste, nor do other castes eat from them. 
Dhol Mala. — Serve as drummers in the ceremonies of the Koya casle. 
Erkala Mala. — The members of this sub-caste make bamboo baskets. 



430 Mala 

Gunta Malas. — Are also weavers, and seem to derive their name 
from the Telugu word ' Gunta' meaning a pit, They work 
on their looms sitting inside the pit. They weave coarse cotton 
cloth similar to ' khadi.' 

Gurram Malas, Yayainga Kunda, Sadi Langas, and Chandals are 
regarded as the lowest of all the Mala sub-castes and earn their 
living by begging from the Mala caste only. They live in 
huts made of the leaves of the Shendi tree on the outskirts of 
the villages. Regarding the degradation of the Gurram Malas 
it is said that a member of the sub-caste was employed to return 
the horse brought for the procession in a Mala marriage; but 
before he came back the marriage feast was over and he was 
compelled to dine off what was left. 

Landa Malas. — Dress skins and animals. 

Mala Ayyawar, or Nityalu. — They belong to the Vaishnava sect, 
and abstain from eating beef and pork. 

Mala Bogams. — Are prostitutes of the Mala caste. 

Mala Dasri. — Spiritual advisers of the Malas who are Tirmanidharis. 
They worship Mylar Linga. 

Mala Jangam. — Gurus of the Malas who are Vibhutidharis. They 
are also known as 'Shiva Nagmayya,' being the worshippers of 
the God Shiva. They say they have five gotras (1) Nandi, (2) 
Vrashabha, (3) Bhrangi, (4) Yadra, (5) Sakanda. 

Mala Mashti. — Are acrobats and earn their living by performing 
physical feats. 

Nayatakani Malas. — Are weavers. 

Pachi Malas. — Are weavers ; so designated as they weave cloth from 
the untwisted yarn. 

Pambalwad. — The priests of the Mala caste, for whom they perform 
religious ceremonies. They have received this name from a 
musical instrument on which they play during worship. In the 
Kamatic they are known by the names Bone, Garu and Bendalas. 

Shiva Kantha Malas. — Weavers and cultivators. They have a 
legend that they sprang from the poison which Shiva drank, but 
which, being imable to retain in his throat, he disgorged. This 
poison was one of the fourteen gems obtained when the ocean 



Mala 43) 

was churned by gods and demons with the Mandar mountain 

serving as^a staff and the serpent Wasuki as a rope. 
Tuka Mala. — Are masons. 

Very little is known regarding the rest of the sub-castes. 

The exogamous sections are either of the territorial or totemistic 
type; but the totems do not appear to be held as taboo by the 
members of the caste bearing the names. 
Sur-fiames : — 

Kankawaru. • Pyaramwaru. 

Nokalawaru. . Neelamwaru. 

Prarsawaru. Mayakatawaru. 

Yerpolawaru. Holnoru. 

Kirmandoru. Jallewaru. 

Mala Jangams allege that they have gotras as below, borrowed 
partly from the Veershaiva Jangams and partly from the Brahmans ; 
but these gotras appear to have no bearing on the regulation of 
marriages : — 

Nandi. . Vrashabha. Bhrangi. 

VamdeAfa. Sakanda. Goutama. 

Besides these gotras they have family names also such as 

Madnollu. Bandrollu. 

Rajalollu. Pabollu. 

Komalollu. KandoUu. 

A sort of hypergamy prevails. Mala Jangams and Dasris take 
girls in marriage from other Mala castes, but do not give their own 
daughters in return. At the time of admission into the caste the 
girl's arm and tongue are branded by a lighted ' Nim ' (Melia iniica) 
twig. After this, these girls are not allowed to go to their parents. 

A man can marry two sisters, but two brothers cannot marry two 
sisters. A man must marry within his sub-caste. Inter-marriages 
within the same section are avoided. A man may marry the 
daughters of his maternal uncle, paternal aunt and elder sister. 

Outsiders are admitted into the caste. The ceremony of admis- 
sion consists in branding the tongue of the novice with a burning nim ' 
twig or a hot piece of gold or silver. The new-comer has to eat a 
betel-Ieaf chewed previously by a Mala. A goat is sacrificed on 



432 Mala 

the occasion and a feast given to the members of the caste. After 
the meal the neophyte has to remove the dishes and th? hut in which 
the dinner was eaten is burnt. 

Both infant and adult marriages are practised by the caste. 
Immediately after marriage the girl is sent to her husband by the 
Vadibiyam ceremony. Cohabitation before puberty is tolerated. If 
an unmarried girl commits adultery with a casteman and the fact is 
known, she is compelled to marry her lover by an inferior ceremony. 
A fine is imposed on a girl committing adultery with a man of higher 
C2istes. Polygamy is permitted without limit. 

Marriage — The marriage ceremony of the Telugu Mala com- 
prises the following rites, which have been fully described in the 
passages on the Kapu caste : — 

Vadiyam. Kankanam. 

Papawanam. Talwal. 

Parthanam. Bashingam. 

Ravireni . Brahmamodi . 

Lagnam. ■ Nagvelly. 

Kanyadan. Plou. 

Padghattan. Arundhatidarshan. 

Jiraguda. Vapagintha. 

Pusti Mittalu. Vadibiyam Ssiri. 

On the Nagvelli day, Ganga Puja is celebrated with great pomp. 
At the time of going round the Polu, the parents of the bride make 
presents to the bridegroom consisting of implements of husbandry, 
a Thali (metal-plate) and Lota (metal-pot) and the bride also 
receives a present from her husband known as Avali and amounts 
to Rs. 5. Among the Gunta Mala the Avali is valued at Rs. 4. 
Among Begar Malas, at the time of Polu, the bride takes in her hand 
a chuming-staff and the bridegroom a plough and their feet are 
washed by married females. In Adilabad, the wedding ceremony 
is performed at the bridegroom's house under a booth erected for the 
purpose. The bride and the bridegroom are bathed, dressed in new 
clothes and wedded by the Anieipat ritual. 



I! Mala 433 

The marriage in the Karnatic differs in essential points from that 

in vogue in Telangana and, among other rites, include : — 

Hogitoppa. — Or the fixing of an auspicious day with the consent of 
both parties, the occasion being celebrated with a feast. 

Bad. — The goddess Ellamma is invoked and, in her name, a piece of 
cloth is tied round the neck of a Matangi (an old devoted 
woman of the Madiga caste). 

Uditamba. — The bride is presented with wheat, areca-nuts, betel- 
leaves and pieces of' cocoanut kernel and brought to the bride- 
groom's house. 

Yaniarlhani. — Smearing the bridal pair with oil and turmeric paste. 
Kankans made of thread are tied on their wrists. 

Maniavana. — The bride, the bridegroom and their mothers are also 
annointed and bathed seated in a circle of 12 pots encircled by 
raw cotton thread. The thread is then collected in a heap 
and a pearl being placed on it, water is poured over the pearl. 

Halgampa. — A branch of the ' Badh ' (Frctis indica) tree is brought 
by the maternal uncle of the bridegroom and planted under the 
wedding booth. This right is claimed by the maternal uncle, 
but, in his absence, any other relative, who is regarded as the 
maternal uncle for the time being, performs the ceremony. 

Lagnam. — In this the bride and the bridegroom are made to stand 
opposite each other, the former on Sindoli and the latter on 
fota. The Antarpat, or a piece of cloth on which five pictures 
(one of a snake, the second of Linga, the third of Shiva, the 
fourth of a five petalled flower and the fifth of the sacred bull) 
are painted, is held between them, benedictory mantras are 
chanted and turmeric coloured rice is thrown on the couple. 
The bridegroom is afterwards made to tie the Mangahutra 
round the neck of the bride. After this, the bride and the 
bridegroom throw coloured rice on each other's heads, this part 
of the rite being called Akikc^- 

Bhum. — The family gods are offered 24 cakes, without sugar, and 
other preparations ; four married women on the bridegroom's 
side and four married women and one man on the bride's side 
are then invited to partake of the food, seated before the gods. 

28 



434 Mala 

The leavings are buried in a pit dug for the purpose, on the 
spot where they dined. 
Mirongi. — The bride and bridegroom are taken on a bullock to the 
Hanuman's temple and made to worship the deity. A cocoanut 
is broken before the god and the pieces are distributed among 
the assembly. An adult bride follows her husband on foot on 
this occasion. 
Nagoell}). — The bride and bridegroom, seated in a square made 
by arranging four pots, are bathed and the Kankans, or wedding 
bracelets on their wrists, are untied' and fastened to the Banian 
post planted previously by the maternal uncle under the booth. 
Chagol. — A goat is killed and a feast is provided to relatives and 
friends by the bride's parents. A procession is formed and the 
bridegroom and bride are conducted to the bridegroom's house, 
and on their arrival at the entrance, cocoanuts are distributed to 
the assembled guests. A grand feast, given by the bride- 
groom s parents, concludes the ceremony. 

Dedication of Basavis — It is customary dmong the Malas to 
dedicate their girls and boys to the service of temples. 
These girls are called Murlis, Bsisavis or Parvatis and the boys are 
called Potraja. The ceremony of dedication consists in wedding the 
girl or boy to a sword or to the temple deity. 

Dedication of Basavis or Parvatis — After the Deoaka, or 
marriage guardian deity, has been installed under the wedding booth 
the girl to be wedded is brought in with her forehead adorned with 
bashingam and is seated by the side of a woman holding a sword in 
her hand. Bashingam is also tied to the sword to represent the bride- 
groom. Anterpat is held between the girl and the sword and they are 
wedded in accordance with rites in vogue among the Mala caste. Such 
Basavis earn their livelihood afterwards by prostitution. In the case of 
Murlis, Bashingams of the leaves of ' Palas ' [Butea jrondosa) and 
Mango {Mangijera indica) are used and Bendahd conduct the wed- 
ding service. A spot is plastered with cowdung and upon it a 
square is traced with turmeric powder. The Murli is seated upon 
this and the Bindla priest ties round her neck two strings, one of 
black beads and the other of leather pieces, the former allowing 



Mala 435 

her to pursue the profession of begging, while the latter gives a 
rehgious sanction to her becoming a prostitute. A Basavi woman is 
seen begging armed with a • trident ' (an iron rod with three barbed 
prongs) on her shoulder and a begging basket in her hand, while two 
cowrie wreaths are hung from her neck down to her ankles. She 
is strictly prohibited from begging when she is unclean. Basavi 
women are allowed to cohabit with members of their own caste or of 
other castes if higher .to them in social standing. The ParVatis 
closely resemble the Murlisjn their begging uniform and other respects. 
Thejpnly distinction between them lies in the fact that the former add 
to the profession of prostitutes the arts of singing and dancing and that 
they are strictly prohibited from combing their hair. These women 
are very few in number and are rarely met with in the Districts. 
They are enjoined to wear ornaments solely of brass when begging, 
but after their return they may adorn themselves as they please. 

Potraja. — The boys dedicated in the name of a god are called 
Poiraja. These are subsequently permitted to marry in their own 
caste. The name Potraja is derived from the Telugu words ' Pot ' 
(a he-buffalo) and ' Raja ' (owner) and are so designated because they 
officiate as priests when he-builaloes are sacrificed, to their tutelary 
deities. Their hair is never shorn and is always unkempt. Their 
services are in request when cholera or small-pox breaks out among 
the community. During such epidemics, he-buffaloes are sacrificed 
to the deity presiding over the prevailing disease. The buffalo to 
be sacrificed is made to stand in front of the goddess and the Potraja, 
as if possessed by the goddess, tears the throat of the animal with 
his teeth and besmearing his body with the blood of the beast, begins 
to dance and foretell the future. 

Widow-Marriage A widow is allowed to marry again but 

she caimot marry her late husband's brother. Tiru or bride-price, 
ranging from Rs. 5 to Rs. 50 is paid to the parents of the widow 
by the bridegroom. The ceremony is very simple. A sari and a 
choll are presented to the bride and a tali is tied round her neck by 
the widows attending the ceremony. A feast is given to the caste 
people. 

Divorce. — Divorce is permitted on the ground of the wife's 



436 Mala 

adultery and is effected with the sanction of the caste council. As 
a symbol of separation, some salt is tied in the woman's garment and 
she is driven out of the house. She is afterwards allowed to remarry 
by the same rites as widows. 

Inheritance The Malas follow the Hindu law of inheri- 
tance. Females inherit in default of males. A dedicated girl is 
entitled to share equally with her brothers in the property. A 
nephew, if he be a son-in-law, gets a share of his father-in-law's 
estate. 

Religion — The Malas ate in reality animistic in their treed 
and prefer the worship of the deities of nature and diseases to that 
of the great gods of the Hindu pantheon. Their chief objects of 
worship are Pochamma, Ellamma, Mariamma, Maisamma, Mutj'a- 
lamma, to whom offerings of goats, sheep and he-buffaloes are made 
in the month of Ashadha (June-July), the offerings being eaten by 
the votaries subsequently. Of late, the sectarian influences so 
prevalent among the Telugu and Tamil classes Ijave spread lio this 
caste also and the Malas are accordingly divided between Vibhuti- 
dharis (Saivas) and Tirmanidharis (Vaishnavas). As the great sec- 
tarian gurus (the Aradhi and Shri Vaishnava Brahmins) cannot stoop to 
serve at their houses, the Malas have created their own priests, the 
Mala Jangams officiating as priests and giving spiritual advice to the 
Vibhutidharis, members of the caste and Mala Dasris, initiating them 
into the secrets of Vaishnavism. With all this, and excepting a very 
few members forming the upper enlightened layer of the society, the 
Malas still cling persistently to their primitive animistic creed. 

TTie Malas pay devotion to deified heroes, and Chinna Keshava 
Swami is worshipped with offerings of sweetmeats on Saturdays, on 
the first day of the year and on the Ganesh Chauth (the light fourth 
of Bhadrapad), the members of each household officiating as priests 
and consuming the offerings after the Puja. 

Mala Jangams daily worship the Siva Lingam, to which food is 
offered before the first meal. They pay reverence to Basvanna 
occasionally. Females revere Gauri and also Nagalu, (the deity 
presiding over serpents). The Gods of the Hindu pantheon are 
honoured by the caste. 



Mala 



437 



Mala Dasri and Jangams are their Gurus. Pambalwads. or 
Bendlawads, .attend the marriage ceremonies and Jangams and Dastis 
attend the death rites. 

Cliild=Birth._On the third day after the birth of a child, the 
Purud ceremony is performed, when a goat is killed, the head 
is placed on the rim of the pit in which the child's umbilical cord 
has been buried, and the body is cooked and a feast provided to 
guests and friends. The head forms the perquisite of the midwife. 
On the 21st day, the mother goes to a well, offers puja to its rim, 
marches three times round It and returns home with a jar filled with 
its water. The water is sprinkled throughout the house and the 
mother is rendered ceremonially pure. The child is named generally 
on the fifth day after its birth. 

Disposal of the Dead._The dead are either buried or burnt, 
according to the pecuniary circumstances of the family of the deceased. 
In the case of burning, the ashes and bones are collected on the third 
day after death and thrown into a river and the bones are buried 
under a platform. * In the case of burial, the corpse is laid in the 
grave with its head pointing to the south. Among Tirmanidharis, as 
soon as death occurs, a Mala Dasri is sent for and a fowl is sacri- 
ficed and cooked by him. He then puts tirtha, holy water, wine 
and a little portion of the cooked fowl in the mouth of the dead body, 
which is then removed and buried. After burial, the bier bearers 
and other mourners bathe and the rest of the cooked fowl and wine 
are distributed among them as a blessing from the Dasri. Mourning 
is observed ten days for the married and three days for the unmarried. 
During mourning the Vibhutidharis abstain from flesh. Tirmani- 
dharis treat the Mala Dasris with a feast of meat and wine at the 
grave on the 3rd, 5th and 10th days ; while Vibhutidharis throw 
food to birds on the 3rd day after death. Jangams and Dasris attend 
the grave of the deceased and walk three times around it with lighted 
torches in their hands. 

The Mala Jangams bury their dead in a sitting posture with 
the face to the north. No mourning is observed. On the 10th day 
a feast is given to the caste members. Some Vibhutidharis al;o bury 
their dead in a sitting posture. 



438 Mala 

On the Pitra Amawasya day alms are given to the Jangams and 
Dasris in the names of the departed ancestors. 

Among Begar Malas, the house is cleansed on the 1 0th day 
after death and the relatives of the deceased go to a river or a well and 
worship it, offering a cocoanut. They then return to the house 
bearing an earth pot full of water with which sweet food is after- 
wards prepared. 

Social Status — The Malas occupy the lowest and the most 
degraded position in Hindu society, being superior only to Madigas 
in social rank. Their touch is regarded £is unclean by the hjgher 
castes, the village barber will not shave their heads nor will the 
village washerman wash their clothes. The wells of the higher 
castes cannot be used by them and they are therefore obliged to have 
their own separate reservoirs of water. They eat the leavings of all 
castes except Madigas sind Dakkalwars. In matters of diet they have 
few scruples and eat beef, mutton, pork, horse flesh, fowls, field rats 
and the flesh of animals that have died a natural death. They also 
indulge freely in strong drinks. 

Occupation — The Maleis are labourers, servants, grooms and 
village-watchmen. They are the chief free labourers, Begars, of 
the land. They are very grateful for a little kindness and will 
willingly show the road to travellers in sun or rain, at midnight 
or midday. They form part of the village Baluta emd are paid in 
com and grain for the duty they render to the public. Some of them 
weave coarse cotton cloth. A few only have taken to cultivation, 
but in most cases they are engaged as farm labourers and never allowed 
by village farmers to acquire permanent tenures. 



LXIII. 

Mali 

Mali, Marar — an industrious race of fruit and vegetable growers, 
gardeners and cultivators, found in large numbers in and around 
Daulatabad, extending as far north as the Central Provinces and the 
Berars. Moving, from this point, southward into the District of 
Adilabad, they have spread over the tract of country comprising the 
present talukas of Rajura, Sirpur and Jangaon and, under the popular 
designation ' Marar,' have now entirely occupied many villages in the 
District. The cunent tradition avers that, early in the fourteenth 
century, they were brought from Delhi, by the Emperor Muhammad 
Taghluk, who desired to furnish his new capital of Daulatabad with 
beautiful gardens, and that their immigration continued so long as the 
Mogal rule prevailed in the Deccan. Their claim of foreign origin 
is, to some extent, borne out by the distinction between their features 
and customs, and those of the local Kunbis. 

Origin — The name Mali is an abbreviation of the Sanskrit 
' Malakar,' a garland maker. The etymology of the name Marar 
is obscure. A vjuriety of legends are in vogue regarding the origin 
of the caste. Manu makes them the offspring of a Mahisya father 
and a Nishad mother. According to a legend contained in the 
Nibhanda Puran, Adideva Banmali, the first gardener, sprang from 
the pubes (jhata) of the god Shiva as he dashed them on the 
mountain Dhavalgiri. Anoliier legend supposes that the progenitor 
of the caste was one Bhramaracharya Rishi, who made daily offerings 
of flowers to Shanker. Taken by themselves, these legends are 
valueless, as they give no clue to the real affinities of the caste. 

Internal Structure The Malis are divided into twelve and 

a half endogamous groups based mostly upon the nature of articles 
they chiefly cultivate. 

(I) Phul Mali — Growers of flowers. 



440 



Mali 



(2) Jire Mali — Growers of cumin seeds. 

(3) Halde Mali — Growers of turmeric. 

(4) Ghas Mali — Growers of grass. 

(5) Trigula — Betel vine growers. 

(6) Kosale. 

(7) Bhandare. 

(8) Mithagare. 

(9) Bawane. 

(10) Adshete. 

(11) Lingayit. ^. 

(12) Adiprabhu. 
(I21/2) Malgand. 

The members of these different groups do not intermarry nor eat 
together. The Phul Malis hold the highest rank among the com- 
munity. The Malgands form a half caste being composed of illegi- 
timate members of the Mali caste. They serve as bards, or genea- 
logists, to the Malis and subsist by begging only from them. 

The exogamous sections of the caste consist' of family names, 
and are the same as those of the Msuratha Kunbis. 



(1) 


Rawat. 


(17) 


Giram. 


(2) 


Gunjekar. 


(18) 


Thakare. 


(3) 


More. 


(19) 


Korade. 


(4) 


Ingale. 


(20) 


Irkar. 


(5) 


Jhagade. 


(21) 


Gaikawad. 


(6) 


Lukte. 


(22) 


Sattaldhar. 


(7) 


Pariskar. 


(23) 


Chinchane. 


(8) 


Udgire. 


(24) 


Sinde. 


(9) 


Jambudker. 


(25) 


Bedare. 


(10) 


Hagre. 


(26) 


Yadava. 


(11) 


Mogre. 


(27) 


Langote. 


(12) 


Sonatakle. 


(28) 


Lokhande. 


(13) 


Satwe. 


(29) 


Shingare. 


(14) 


Bhure. 


(30) 


Dake. 


(15) 


Bhange. 


(31) 


Gore. 


(16) 


Kothamirye. 


(32) 


Dhavale. 



The Marars of Adilabad are, at the present day, regarded as a 



Mali 



441 



distinct caste from the Malis and have their own twelve and a half 
endogamous , divisions. 

(1) Kosre Marar. (8) Bavne Madi. 

(2) Phul Madi. (9) Gadve Madi. 

(3) Sola Madi. (10) Mase Madi. 

(4) Jire Madi. (11) Halde Madi. 

(5) Mire Madi. (12) Bhangi Madi. 

(6) Dase Madi. ' (I2/2) Pahad Madi. 

(7) Ghase Madi.* 

The section names of JVlarars are peculiar to them, although they 
exhibit the same ground work upon which the Mali surnames are 
based. They are as follows : — 



(1) Sinde. 

(2) Ave. 

(3) Lendgore. 

(4) Vadhai. 

(5) Nagoriya. 

(6) Gantriy^. 

(7) Pitkoliya. 

(8) Kotarangya. 

(9) Sonulya. 

(10) Bororiya. 

(11) Nikoriya. 

( 1 2) Kavadya. 



(13) Watgoriya. 

(14) Anjodiya. 

(15) Nikiyar. 

(16) Wasakya. 

(17) Mandadiya. 

(18) Gurnolia. 

(19) Chahiriya. 

(20) Chowdhari. 

(21) Satade. 

(22) Rasya. 

(23) Kokordya. 
(24) Kokodya. 



The sept name descends in the male line. A man is forbidden 
to marry a woman of his own section. No other section is a bar to 
marriage, provided he avoids the following relatives : — Mother's 
sister, sister's daughter, mother's sister's daughter and father's sister's 
daughter. A man may marry two sisters. Two brothers may also 
marry two sisters, but the elder brother must marry the elder sister 
and the younger brother the younger. 

Marriage — The Malis marry their girls as infants between 
the ages of four and twelve. In fulfilment of vows, girls are some- 
times dedicated to their tutelary deity Khandoba. The dedication 
ceremony consists in marrying the girl to the deity as if she were his 
bride: Such girls are designated Murlis, are subsequently debarred 



442 Mali 

from marriage and lead a loose life. Polygamy is permitted without 
any theoretical limit. 

Either side takes the initiative towards the settlement of 
marriage. An earthen platform is built at the girl's house only, but 
both parties erect marriage booths supported on five posts of Mango, 
(Afangrfem mdica), Umbar {Ficus glomerata), Jambul {Eugenia 
jambolana), Palas (Butea jrondosa) and Saundad (Prosopis spicigera). 
To the Saundad post, which is terrned Muhurta Medha 
(auspicious post), is fastened the DeOa Devakfl, represented by an axe, 
twigs of mango and shami and two cakes. A Brahmin is consulted 
and an auspicious day is fixed for the celebration of the wedding. 
The marriage ceremony opens with sakharpuda (betrothal), when 
a sari and choli, one rupee and five cocoanuts are presented to the 
girl, aniline and turmeric powders are smeared on her forehead and 
some sugar is put into her mouth. 

The marriage ceremony lasts for five days and comprises the 
following stages : — 

(1) Tel-Haldi : — Both the bride and the bridegroom, in 

their own houses, are smeared with turmeric and oil 

under special booths (Haldi-mandava) made for the 
purpose. 

(2) Warli : — Five earthen pots £u-e ceremonially brought 

from a potter's house by five married females from each 
party. 

(3) DeVa Devaka : — Or the divine invocation. Family 

deities are invoked for their blessings on the couple and 
formal invitations are sent to relatives euid friends. 

(4) Simdnt Pujan : — The formal and ceremonial reception of 

the bridegroom by the bride's parents at Maruti's temple, 
usually situated on the village boundary. 

(5) Bridal procession : — The boy riding on a horse or a 

bullock is conducted, in procession to the girl's house. 
At the time fixed by astrologers for the performance 
of the actual ceremony, the bride and bridegroom 
are made to stand face to face in two bamboo baskets 
containing turmeric coloured rice. A cloth is held 



Mali 443 

between them and they are wedded by the priest reciting 
nrantras and throwing coloured jawari grains over their 
heads. The bridal pair, while standing, are twice 
• encircled with cotton thread, first four times and then five 
times. The thread is removed, steeped in turmeric water 
and made into two bracelets which the bridal pair tie 
on each other^s wrists. The bridegroom ties the 
Mangahutra ^{\uc]Qy necklace) round the bride's neck and 
puts silver rings on her toes. 

(6) Kcm^adan : — Gift and acceptance. The wedded pair 

are seated on an earthen platform, side by side, and 
Homa is performed by throwing ghi on the sacrificial 
fire, whereupon the bride's father, taking her by the hand, 
entrusts her to the care of the bridegroom. 

(7) Sade : — Or the final procession which conducts the 

bridal pair to the bridegroom's house. 

Zdlzendd : — The bridal pair are borne by their maternal uncles 
on their backs and when the latter, dancing and jumping with their 
burdens, cross, the former pelt each other with wheaten cakes or 
throw red powder (gulal) on each other's heads. 

A very interesting usage, probably of primitive origin, has been 
preserved by some mali families and deserves special mention. On 
the wedding night, a man of the caste, disguised in female clothes 
and carrying a milk pot on his head, represents a ' gaolan ' (milk- 
maid), while a woman, dressed like a man and furnished with 
a sword and a ' hukka ' (hubble-bubble), is styled a Mogal, 
The antic pair go, in procession, to the bridegroom's house and thence 
escort his mother to the wedding booth. For this queer office they 
receive rewards in money and clothes from the assembled guests, 
who enjoy the occasion, making it the subject of great fun and 
merriment. 

Marar girls are married both as infants or after they have 
attained the age of puberty. Cohabitation before marriage is con- 
nived at, it being understood that her seducer, in case the girl 
becomes pregnant, will be compelled to marry her. The father 
of the bride receives a sum of money for his daughter, which sometimes 



444 Mali 

amounts to as much as Rs. 40. The marriage ceremony of the 
Marars is only a copy of the ritual in vogue among the other Adilabad 
castes of the same social standing. The marriage is conducted by a 
Brahmin who recites mantras, throws jawari grains on the .heads of 
the couple and unites them in wedlock. A curious usage, scjircely 
less interesting than that of the Malis, requires the bridegroom's 
mother to make five cow-dung cakes subsequent to the celebration 
of the Nagvelli rite. The cakes are placed under a booth, bedaubed 
with turmeric and red aniline powder and solemnly worshipped with 
offerings of milk, mung, wheat and jawari.' They are then preserved 
until the first Divali festival, when they are burnt to heat the water 
with which the bridal couple are ceremonially bathed. 

Widow=Marriage.^Widow marriage is permitted with the 
sanction of the caste Panchayat. The widow, dressed in white, is 
seated on a bullock saddle and the bridegroom, dagger in hand, ties 
the mangahuira round her neck. The pair offer milk to each other 
and this concludes the proceedings. The ceremony is attended only 
by widows and is performed under the superintendence of a Brahmin 
priest. 

Divorce. — Divorce is recognised by the caste, but cannot be 
carried into effect without the express permission of the leading 
members of the community. The woman is deprived of her mangal- 
sulra (wedding thread), which symbolises her separation from her 
husband. If the husband has just cause of complaint against his 
wife, he is entitled to recover from her a part of the marriage 
expenses; but if he neglects or illtreats his wife, he is compelled by 
the Panchas to give her alimony for six months. A deed of divorce, 
embodying these conditions, is executed and attested by the headman 
and other members of the caste council. Divorced women are allowed 
to marry again by the same ritual as widows. 

Child=Birth — A woman after child-birth is unclean for ten 
days. When the child is six days old, worship is offered by the 
father to the goddess Satwai (sasti), who is generally regarded as the 
guardian of young children. A girl, on attaining puberty, is impure 
for four days, the otabharan, or propitiatory ceremony, being per- 
formed within sixteen days from first appearance. 



Mali 445 

Religion._In their religious and ceremonial observances the 
members of the caste differ very little from the high caste Hindus 
of the locality. The favourite deity of the Malis is Khandoba, a 
form of Mahadeo, worshipped on the sixth of the lunar half' of 
Margashirsha (December). Offerings of marigold flowers, yellow 
powder (bhandara), boiled onions and bringals are made to the god 
and dogs are fed in his name. Their village gods are Mari Ai, 
Sitala Devi, Bahiroba, Bhasoba, Satwai and Maruti, who are 
worshipped in every hotise-hold with the usual offerings of sheep, 
goats and sweetmeats of diiferent kinds. The characteristic deity of 
the ^arars is ' Khudban ' represented by a lump of dried 
clay set up in every house. Among their minor gods the most 
prominent positions are taken by Pochamma, Lakshmi, Jamlai, 
Waghoba and the local pirs. Women pay devotion to the ' tulsi ' 
plant {Ocimum sanctum) daily, to the cobra snake on Nagpanchami 
(lunar fifth of Shravana) and to the ' badh ' (Ficus bengalensis) and 
pipal * (Ficus religiosa) trees occasionally. In addition to these 
gods, all Mali house-holders appease a number of spirits of their 
deceased sfticestors, whose images they emboss on silver or copper 
plates and keep enshrined in a special part of the house. The Malis 
observe all the Hindu festivals and feasts and employ Brahmans as 
priests in their religious service. 

Disposal of the Dead — The dead are burned in the ordinary 
Hindu fashion, the body being laid on the pyre with the head 
pointing to the south. The ashes and bones are collected on the 
third day after death and thrown into the river Ganges or into any 
sacred stream that may happen to be handy. Those who are very 
poor bury their corpses in a lying posture. Persons dying of cholera 
or small-pox and children who die before they have cut their teeth are 
buried. The ceremony of Sradha is performed on the 1 2th day after 
death for males, and on the 13th day for females. Brahmans are 
engaged by Malis for the performance of funeral obsequies. On the 
10th day the chief mourners, usually sons, shave their moustaches. 
On the third day of every Vaishak (Akhati) and on the last day of 
Bhadrapad (Sarva-pitri Amavasya) libations of water and balls of 
cooked rice or wheaten flour are offered to propitiate ancestors in 
general . 



446 Mali 

Social Status. — The social standing of the caste appears to 
vary in different sub-castes. The Phul Malis hold „a respectable 
position and take rank with Maratha Kunbis, Hatkars and Wanjaris, 
with whom they eat kflchi or cooked food. The Jire Malis, who 
raise cumin seeds, and the Haldi Malis, who grow turmeric crops, 
stand on a lower social level, not being admitted to the privileges of 
eating with the above-mentioned castes, while the remaining sub- 
castes are held in still lower estimation. These social inequalities 
afford ground for the belief that the entire Mali caste comprises 
independent groups, held together under' one designation by reason 
of similarity of occupation. In matters of food, the Malis eat mutton, 
fowl, goat's flesh and all kinds of fish. They indulge occasionally 
in strong drink. They do not touch the leavings of higher castes. 
To the above the Marars add pork, from which the Malis abstain. 
The Marars rank socially with Kapus, Gollas, Welmas, and Munnurs. 
Occupation, — The Malis are very industrious and skilful gar- 
deners, growing and selling all kinds of vegetables, fruit and 
flowers. They also raise staple crops, but are more" profitably engaged 
in rearing tobacco, cumin seeds, turmeric and other special produce 
which require careful cultivation. Their talent for all fcwms of 
gardening and spade husbandry is remarkable and most of the vine- 
yards of Daulatabad and its neighbourhood, yielding the highly 
esteemed grape known as ' Habshi * were owned by the members of 
this caste. In towns they work as market gardeners, while in villages 
they supply flowers and flower wreaths for the worship of household 
gods. Many of the Malis are occupancy or non-occupancy raiats, 
some of whom have risen to be patels, or headmen of villages. A 
few of them are farm labourers. The Malis have a caste Panchayat 
presided over by a chief who is called ' mehatar ' and to whcan all 
social disputes of the caste are referred for decision. It is said that 
Phul Malis do not wear shoes embroidered with flowered designs. 



LXIV 
Mali Gujarathi 

Mali Gujarathi — a vagrant group of beggars singing songs and 
exhibiting painted scrolJs representing the scenes of holy places and 
rivers and the exploits of _Puranic heroes and gods. Both men and 
wor.ien have a Gujarathi cast of countenance which suggests the view 
that they are a degraded offshoot from some respectable caste of 
Gujarath. Mali Gujarathis themselves say that their ancestors were 
originally Malis and were cut off from the parent stock for some 
social offence. They have no fixed habitation, but wander from 
village to village begging alms and carrying their household articles 
on the backs of bullocks. The women wear langas, at petticoats 
of Marwcuri fashion, and bangles of pewter or horn on their wrists. 

Internal Structure. — Mali Gujarathis have no endogamous divi- 
sions. Their exogamous sections are mostly of the territorial type. 
A man may not marry a woman of his own section or of the section 
to which his mother belonged before her marriage. He may marry 
two sisters at the same time. Polygamy is permissible, but is 
usually found to be too expensive. 

Marriage Girls are married either as infants or adults between 

the ages of ten and thirty. Sexual licence before marriage is tolerated 
and condoned only by a nominal fine. A good deal of sexual laxity 
prevails and, within the community indeed, the idea of sexual morality 
seemj hardly to exist. If, however, a girl becomes pregnant 
before marriage, arrangements are made to get her married as early 
as possible. The customary bride price paid for a girl is supposed 
to be ten rupees, but the amount is liable to vary according to the means 
of the bridegroom's parents. The marriage ceremony is very simple. 
After the bride price has been paid and the small-pox goddess, 
Sitala, has been propitiated, the bridal pair are besmeared with 
turmeric and oil in their own houses. On the wedding day the 



448 Mali Gujarathi 

bridegroom is taken, on the shoulders of a male relative, to the bride's 
house, where a marriage shed supported on two post* is erected. 
Outside the Mandap a square is formed by placing an earthen pot 
at each corner and a fire is kindled in the centre. The bridal pair 
throw ghi and ' jav ' (barley) on the fire and walk round it four 
times, the bridegroom leading the bride in the first two rounds while in 
the last two the bride leads her husband. This is deemed to be the 
binding portion of the ceremony. A feast to relatives and friends 
on the part of the bride's father concludes the marriage. A widow 
is allowed to marry again and it is considered the right thing for her 
to marry her late husband's younger brother, even though he is 
younger than herself. Her choice of a second husband is, however, 
unfettered ; but in the event of her marrying an outsider, she forfeits 
all claim to the custody of the children she may have borne her late 
husband or to a share in his property, which goes to his children or, 
failing them, to his brother. The price paid for a widow bride is 
supposed to be forliy rupees. The ceremony in use at the marriage 
of a widow is comparatively simple, consisting of seating the bridal 
pair side by side, tying their clothes in a knot and making their 
foreheads touch seven times. I his ceremony is called Natra. 
Divorce is effected, with the sanction of the Panchayat, on the ground 
of the wife's adultery or barrenness, or for incompatibility of 
temper. If a wife deserts her husband, her parents are required 
to pay to her husbemd Rs. 55 for the expenses he incurred 
at her marriage. On the other hand, a husband claiming a divorce 
has to pay Rs. 12 to his wife. Divorced wives are allowed to 
marry again by the same form as widows. 

Inheritance — In matters of inheritance and succession Mali 
Gujarathis are governed by customs of their own, by which the sons, 
however few, of one wife take a share equal to that of the sons, 
however many, of another. 

Religion — Mali Gujarathis profess to be Hindus, but they do 
not employ Brahmans for religious and ceremonial observances and 
the functions of the priest are discharged by selected members of their 
own community. Their favourite object of worship is Sitala, the 
goddess presiding over small-pox, who is adored at weddings and on 



Mali Gujarathi 449 

occasions of sickness. When cholera breaks out they appease ' Mari 

Ai ' with a variety of offerings. They occasionally pay reverence 

to Thakurji and other greater gods. 

Disiposal of the Dead — The dead are burned, the ashes thrown 

into a river and the bones buried, but no regular Sradha is performed 
and the only funeral observance consists of a feast given to the 
brethren by a man's heir ten days after his death. Children, under 
three years of age, are buried. 

Social Status — The social status of Mali Gujarathis is low 
and they are said to eat 'the leavings of all middle classes of 
Hindit Society. Men, women and children beg alms, singing songs 
in public to the music of a stringed instrument. 



39 



LXV 

Manbhao 

(Jaya Krishna in the Punjab and Achyut Panthi in Bundelkhand). 
Manbhao. Mahanubhao, Mahatmana— a religious sect of 
Vaishnawaits based upon the worship of Krishna, the eighth incar- 
nation of Vishnu, and Dattatraya, the son of the sage Atri and h'ls wife 
Anusuya. Clad in sombre long gowns, with their heads clean shaven, 
the celibate Manbhao mendicants, men and women, wander in 
■ Melas ' (bands) from village to village and from one monastery to 
another begging alms, blessing Bhavalus (secular disciples) and makmg 
proselytes. Their exemplary morals and gentle insinuating manners 
command the respect of the villagers who regard them with extreme 
deference and veneration and supply their few v/ants with care and 
attention. Their principal monasteries (maths) are 'at Paithan, 
Nander, Mahur and Manur in the Hyderabad territory, at Ridhpur 
in Berar and Kanashi Charud in Khandesh. The votaries of the 
sect are also scattered over Northern India and in the Bombay 
Presidency, where they have their establishments at Broach, Indore, 
Mathura, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Jalandar, Peshawar, Satara and 
Phaltan. 

Origin. — Opinions differ regarding the origin of the sect and of 
its founder. The sect is recruited from among all castes except the 
most defiled, it recognises social equality among its members and dis- 
countenances idolatrous worship; facts which evidently show that it 
has for its object the denial of the Brahmanical supremacy and the 
rejection of the bondage of ceremonial observances and caste. 

The popular belief is that the sect was founded, in the 
fourteenth century, by Krishnambhat, a very learned and talented 
Brahmin of Paithan on the river Godaveri. Expelled from his caste 
tor keeping a beautiful Manga woman as his mistress, he retaliated by 
originating a new system of religion which condemned caste and 



Manbhao 451 

inculcated the worship of one god in the form of Shri Krishna. He 
established ironasteries at Ridhpur, Mahur, Dwaraka and Kasi 
(Benares) under the presidencies of his four sons by the Dhemi. To 
this account the Berar Gazetteer adds " Krishna Bhat devoted him- 
self to a certain goddess (name unknown) who was so pleased at his 
performing ' Anusthan' in her honour that she bestowed on him a 
Mugut (a sort of crown which caused its wearer to appear a four- 
armed Vishnu), warning him at the same time that if he let it touch 
the ground it would disappear. He then set to work to found a 
new religion which he called the Manbhau. Thinking him a new 
incarnation, his followers increased and the Brahmans became alarmed. 
At last by the artifice of one Bhunum Bhat, a Brahmin from Benares, 
he was induced, in front of a large concourse of people, to appear 
in his mugut and assume the form of the god. No sooner did he 
appear, than the treacherous Brahmin knocked the crown off his head, 
it fell to the ground and vanished. Krishna Bhat retired amid the 
jeers of the people, who saw him in his true form, and the new 
religion received a <3eadly blow." Agreeably to this legend the word 
Manbhao is derived from ' Manga Bhav ' or sprung from the Manga 
caste. 

The Manbhaos repudiatte this story of their origin as an outcome 
of the feeling of aversion and contempt with which the Brahmans 
have ever regarded all sects opposed to their religious notions. 
Around this question a bitter controversy has raged between the 
members of the sect, who lay claim to high antiquity, and the 
Brahmans, who refuse to admit their claim. Considerable light is 
thrown upon this vexed point by the religious literature of the sect, 
which comprises above four hundred volumes and is not to be 
confounded with the Brahmanical Puranas, although it occasionally 
includes legends borrowed from the latter. The works are written 
either in Sanskrit or in Mitakshar (a disguised tongue) ; but the greater 
number are in Marathi and seem, in style and diction, older than 
the compositions of the oldest Marathi writers, Mukundraja, Dnyana- 
deva and Ekanath, who flourished between the 11th and the 13th 
centuries. Refening to them, Dr. Bhandarkar, an eminent autho- 
rity on the Marathi language, writes : "It is an interesting fact that 



452 Manbhao 

these Punjabi Manbhaos should be explaining to us, Marathas, as 
they have been doing, some difficult points in our old Maiathi which we 
at this day do not understand." 

The Leela Charitra, the most esteemed and sacred booJc of these 
people, reviews in detail the religious tenets and doctrines of the sect 
and chronicles important events of the times. It gives, in chronological 
order, the history of the Devagiri Yadava kings from Sinhana to 
Ramchandra and describes how Vishaldeva, king of Gujaratha, 
defeated Sinhana at Ellora and dictated to him terms of peace. But 
the two principal works bearing on the point under discussion are 
the Shri Chakradhara Charitra (life of Shri Chakradhara) and the 
Acharya Charitra (life of Acharya). The former deals with the life 
of Chakradhara, a Karhada Brahmin, who is represented in all 
Manbhao works as having revived the sect. He passed his days in 
pious devotions and enjoyed universal celebrity as a great saint. He 
was interviewed by the Yadava princes Krishna Raja and Mahadeva, 
who offered him all their riches ; but the offer was declined. 
He is said to have retired to Badrikashrama, in^Shaka 1194 (1272 
A. D.). Nagadeva Bhata, his chief disciple, took up his work, spread 
the sect far and wide and was consequently honoured with the title 
' Acharya ' the teacher of the sect. In the history of his life, styled the 
' Acharya Charitra,' it is mentioned that he was bom in Shaka 1158 
(1236 A. D.) and died in Shaka 1224 (1302 A. D.). It is also 
stated that Kamaisha, wife of the Yadava king Ramchandra, fre- 
quently paid homage to him. The dates are in keeping with the 
period during which, as ascertained from copper plates and stone 
inscriptions, the three Yadava kings Krishna Raja, Mahadeva and 
Ramchandra reigned. The dates assigned to their respective rules 
are.— Krishna Raja, A. D. 1247-1260, Mahadeva, A. D. 1260- 
1271, and Ramchandra, A. D. 1271-1301. These facts show that 
Shri Chakradhara and Nagdeva Bhatta were historical personages, who 
flourished in the thirteenth century and were contemporaneous with the 
three successive Yadava sovereigns — Shri Chakradhara with Krishna 
Raja and Mahadeva and Nagdeva Bhatta with Ramchandra. As the 
Manbhao works ascribe to the former the revival of their creed and 
to the latter its wide diffusion, there can be little doubt that the faith 



Manbhao 453 

was in existence earlier than the thirteenth century. The popular 
theory that thfe sect was originated in the fifteenth century is there- 
fore untenable. 

In "'Gajakesari " and " Dinker Prabhanda," two of the most 
interesting works of the Manbhaos, which contain accounts of the 
various sects that then flourished in Maharashtra, Krishna Bhatta is 
described as the founder of the ' Matangapantha,' a pernicious creed 
which aimed at the acqiyrement of superhuman powers by means of 
diabolical practices. Krishna Bhatta was the pupil of one Kantha 
Nath.^at whose instance he sacrificed a beautiful Mang girl to the 
goddess ' Mesako.* The deity restored the victim to life and forced 
Krishna Bhatt to marry her. They had five sons and their descen- 
dants are still to be found in the Ahmednagar District, following 
the faith of their ancestor. There appears to be historical truth in 
the legend upholding the belief that Krishna Bhatt was not the 
originator of the Manbhao sect and that the word Manbhao was con- 
founded with ' Mangbhao' with a view to bringing the sect into 
disgrace and contempt. 

Mythology. — Like other religious sects, the Manbhaos have 
their own mythology, according to which Vishnu appeared on this 
earth under different incarnations in different ages. In the Krita 
Yuga — the virtuous age — he incarnated himself as Hansa and 
Narayan ; in the Treia Yuga as Shri Dattatraya and Nara ; in the 
Dwapara as Shri Krishna and Rishabha ; in the Kali Yuga, he mani- 
fested himself as Prashanta and Shakradhara, the latter being some- 
times regarded as the incarnation of Shri Dattatraya. As stated 
above, Shri Shakradhara initiated Nagdeva Bhatta, who had thirteen 
disciples, of whom Kavishwara and Upadhyaya were the most 
famous. Kavishwara wrote a commentary on the ' Ekadasha 
Skandha ' of Bhagwat, and a poem on 'Shishupal Vadha.' 

Religion. — The leading religious tenets of the Manbhaos consist 
in the observance of celibacy (Brahmacharya vrata), solicitude for 
animal life (Ahinsa), subsistence by mendicancy (Bhikshacharya) and 
leading the erractic life of an ascetic (Sanyasi). They profess to 
follow the Dwait philosophy of Hinduism, which maintains that tise 
individual soul (the soul of man) is distinct from the divine soul (the 



454 Manbhao 

sou! of the deity). The doctrines, expounded in the Bhagwatgita, 
Upanishads and Dashama and Ekadasha Skandas of "Bhagat, form 
their guiding principles, which inculcate 'Bhakti,' or implicit faith 
combined with fervent devotion towards one deity, and through 
Bhakti alone, they hold, can the knowledge of Brahma (the divine 
soul) be obtained. Their objects of worship are Shri Krishna and 
Shri Dattatraya, to whom they have built temples at Mahur, Munnur, 
Paithan and other places where great fairs are held annually in 
honour of these deities. No images of the gods are installed in the 
temples ; but they are represented by their foot prints, placed, on a 
dais, to which the devotees offer flowers while they sing, with devoted 
attention and closed eyes, hymns in honour of the deities. Brahma- 
vidyashastra, embodied in their sacred work ' Lila Charitra,' expounds 
the system of the Manbhao religion, philosophy and morals. 

Several sects have, of late, originated from the Manbhao faith, 
of which that founded by Bhikshu Muni, a Sanyasi of Nyalkal, in the 
Bidar District, is of considerable importance. 

These people are divided into the following »ub-divisi(Mis : — 

(i) Patadhari, (2) Mathadhari, (3) Wanadhari, (4) Dharma 
Bhrashta Gharbhari, (5) Jatadhari and (6) Bhawalu. 

Patadhari. — Monks and nuns who have renounced the world and 
spend their lives in celibacy and mendicancy. These have the 
honour of being worshipped and their heads, known as ' Mahants,' 
possess royal emblems, such as chatra and chamar. The appoint- 
ment of a Mahant is not hereditary. Only male ascetics, possessing 
high morals, good attainments and experience, are appointed. 

Mathadhari. — Superintendents of monasteries. These are also 
exempt from carnal desires. Old ascetics, who are unable to undergo 
joumies, are appointed to these posts. 

Wanadhari. — Those who take San\)as, or become ascetics, and 
wander in the jungles. Such men sure very rare now. 

Gharbharis, Dharma Bhrashta. — When any impropriety occurs 
between monks and nuns, the guilty parties are removed from the 
Maths and are compelled to reside by themselves, with villagers and 
others. These are not altogether excommunicated ; but are regarded 
as secular members. They are designated by the term " Gharbari" 



Manbhao 455 

meaning causers of confusion. They have in fact abandoned the 
life of celiba<?y and have entered into family relations. They wear 
either a black or a white dress, have to observe the peculiar customs of 
the sect add live on alms. Formerly, such people were granted atone- 
ment and allowed to live together, but now the misdemeanants are 
immediately expelled, as being unfit for the math life. 

Jaiadhari. — These do not change their dress. They retain a 
tuft of hair on their heads, like other Hindus. The women also do 
not have themselves shaved, like nuns. Women apply red powder 
to th*ir foreheads and the men ' shadu.' These do not beg, but 
follow a profession for their maintenance ; they may smoke or chew 
tobacco, pluck fruit and flowers, dig roots and deal in agricultural 
products. 

BhaWalu. — These are either disciples, or spiritual advisers. 
This class does not give up its caste, dress or pursuits. When one 
wishes to embrace the faith, he must be ready to give up the worship 
of all the tutelary gods and painted stones, except the worship of Shri 
Krishna and Dattatraya. He must abstain from meat and wine. A 
person of any caste can take the Guru Mantra, which is whispered 
in the ear. This is regarded as a secret which is not to be uttered 
aloud, or repeated to others. It is communicated to those only in 
whose fidelity there is implicit confidence. They worship the gods, 
repeat the guru mantras, and pay due respect to Patadhari, Mathe- 
dhari and Wanadhari. Bhawalus do not eat with the Manbhaos. 
Men of all castes may become Bhawalus, or chelas, without losing 
their original caste. 

The monk at the head of Pathadharis is called a Mahant, and 
the title ' Bua ' is affixed to his name ; that at the head of nuns is 
called 'Ai.' The following are the names to be found among 
monks and nuns : — 

Monks : — Kothibua, Lasurkerbua, Bidkerbua, Patherkerbua. 

Nuns : — Bhagu Ai, Kuvar Ai, Kamala Ai, Krishna Ai, &c. 

Initiation — Males and females alike are made ascetics 
(Sanyasis) and, after initiation, must live on alms, and thus spend 
their whole time in the service of the gods. The sacred thread and 
the tuft of hair on the head of a Brahman, who is to be initiated. 



456 Manbhao 

are first removed and then he is allowed to take Deeksha. Boys 
aod girls, on attaining ten yeMs of age, are initiated,' but no age 
limit applies to outsiders, who are admitted at any time. 

Admission — Brahmans, Lingayits, Rajputs, Jains," Kasar, 
Gujarathi and Marwadi Wanis, Fulmalis and Marathas are admitted 
by Manbhaos into their community. Inferior castes, such as Mahars, 
Mangs and Chambhars are not admitted, but they can become 
Bhawalus. After initiation they must not wprship images and must 
abstain from eating flesh and drinking spirituous liquors. At 
Shahagad some Muhammadans, converted to this faith, have ejected 
a muth in honour of the god Shri Dattafraya. 

Dress — Up to the days of Akbar the dress of these people was 
bhagwd, or of red ochre colour; but when the Emperor sent his 
army to the south to arrest the Gosavis (whose dress was eJso of the 
colour of red ochre), who had raised a rebellion, the Manbhaos of 
the north put their co-religionists in the south on their guard and the 
latter, for fear of being caught with the Gosavis, owing to the simi- 
larity in dress, changed the colour to black and thus saved them- 
selves. Ever since the black dress has been retained. 

Food — The living of the Manbhaos is very simple. Their 
foot! consists of jawari or wheat cakes and dal, and sometimes cooked 
rice. Monks and nuns are restricted to only one meal a day. 

Morality. — They lead a very pious life and are especially kind 
to animals and insects. They will neither kill an animal nor eat the 
flesh ; even the drinking water must be well filtered before it is used. 
A Manbhao will not be importunate in asking for alms nor will 
he touch anything without the owner's knowledge. 

Melas. — The Manbhaos travel from place to place in Melas 
of monks and nuns, numbering from 100 to 300, with a Mahant at 
the head. The Mahant has Pandits, Karbharis, Palakars, &c., 
under him and has sole control over the Mela. When they move 
from one village to another, some of the 'chelas,' or disciples, are 
sent in advance to inform the villagers of their coming and the 
' Bhavalus,' with zeal and devotion, make all arrangement for their 
food and lodging. During the rains, or in Chaturmasa, a village with 
a large number of devotees and having abundant food supplies is 



Manbhao 457 

selected, where the whole season is spent. In Chaturmasa they do 
not cross the River Godavari and in ' Sinhasta ' they do not touch 
the Ganges water. In a Mela every monk and nun is provided 
with a 'Koupin' and ' Kantha ' and a coloured cloth 12 yards in 
length to cover the body, also a string of sandalwood beads. The 
chief festivals of Manbhaos are Datta Jayanti and Gokul Ashtami, 
celebrated respectively on the full moon of Margashirsha (December) 
and on the eighth of the dark half of Shravana (August). 

Funerals — When a lyianbhao dies, his body is not removed few: 
three»hours, the general supposition being that the soul does not leave 
the body for three hours. The body is then borne to the burial 
ground (they have their special grounds), and buried in a lying 
posture with head towards north and face to the east. No mourning is 
observed by the monks and nuns. Gharbaris and Jatadharis observe 
mourning for ten days, but are not required to shave their heads or 
moustaches. After ten days a feast is given to the caiste people. 
No Sbradha, &c.,,is performed for the dead. 

While Gharbari and Jatadhari women are impure during 
the first four days of the monthly period, the nuns do not observe 
this rule. 



LXVI 

Mang 

Mang, Mang Raut — a servile caste of ,Marathawada regarding 
whose origin very little is knovvn. In physical characteristics they 
seem to differ materially from the Mahars and are much finer pa->ple, 
although in social rank they stand below the latter. Ancient autho- 
rities call them ' Shwapach ' (dog-eaters) and make them the 
descendants of a Chandala father and Meda mother. They corres- 
pond to the Madigas of Telangana and both are probably the branches 
of the same parent stock, separated from each other by reason of their 
occupying different localities. Like the Mahars they are predial 
slaves and claim part of the village 'baluta.' Unlike Mahars, 
they have long been notorious for their wild, untameable habits, and 
for their great cunning, hardiness and predilection for outrage and 
robbery. 

Internal Structure — The caste is divided into the following 
endogamous divisions, (1) Khakare, (2) Telangi Mangs, (3) Pendhari 
or Mang Garodi, (4) Dhale, (5) Dasori, (6) Bavise, (7) Bedar, 
(8) Holer. The members of the first four sub-castes interdine and form 
the upper strata of the caste. Of these Telangi emd Pendhari Mangzis 
are treated of in separate reports. Dhale Mangas are attached to the 
Banjara tribes and Bedar Mangs suggest a connection with the Bedar 
caste. The Holer Mangs are village musicians and boast of their 
connection with the Hatkar tribe. They claim that while Hatkers 
were descended from an elder branch, they are themselves sprung 
from the younger branch of the same original tribe. In corroboration 
of this statement, they assert that at their marriages the presence of a 
Halker, having the same Devaka, is quite necessary. It seems, on 
the whole, a probable conjecture that Mangs are formed from 
degraded members of higher castes and are thus distinguished from 
Mahars, who are doubtless a remnant of some iadigenous non-aryan 



Mang 459 

triise. But sufficient evidence to establish this is wanting. 

The ex'»gamous section* of the caste are numerous. Some of 
them are noticed below : — 

. Bhalerao- Gaikawad. 

Londhe. Balawante. 

^al«- Sonatakke. 

Bujone. Paradhe. 

Ingale. ^ ' Shikare. 

Bule. ' Are. 

Bujawanc. ' Gawar. 

Sede. Jadhava. 

These sections are not totemistic. The Mangs hold the 
tiger in reverence, and will neither kill nor injure it, either of these 
acts being regarded as sinful. They pronounce the word tiger with 
reverence, regard it as their patron deity and make obeisance when- 
ever they meet it. They will never reveal its lair to any shikwi 
on any account. This leads to the supposition that the tiger may be 
the totem of the ^aste. 

Marriage in one's own section is avoided. No other section is 
barred to marriage, provided a sister's daughter and first cousins are 
excluded. Adoption into one's own section is practised by the caste. 
iVIarriage. — Both infant and adult marriages are practised by 
the caste, but the former is deemed the more respectable and involves 
great expense. Girls are allowed to grow up only when the 
parents are too poor to get them married before the age of puberty. 
Sexual intercourse before marriage is not regarded seriously, the 
offence being expiated by a trifling fine to the C2iste Panchas ; if a 
girl becomes pregnant before maniage the Panchayat force her lover 
to many her. Adultery with an outsider involves degradation from 
the caste. Polygamy prevails, but is practically restricted to not 
more than 3 wives at a time. 

On the selection of a suitable bride, the boy's father goes to 
her house, presents her with clothes and ornaments and entertains 
her relatives with liquor by way of betrothal. A return visit is then 
paid by the girl's father to the boy, who receives on this occasion 
a turban from his intended father-in-law. A Brahmin astrologer, on 



460 Mang 

the payment of fees, declares an auspicious day for the marriage, 
which comprises the following ceremonies : — 

Kandori — a dinner, given to the relatives in the (turmeric) booth, 
consisting of the f]esh of a sheep sacrificed in the 'name of 
' Hagisa ' — a Mohamedan saint. 
Worship oj Mari At. — Sheep are sacrificed, liquor is offered to 
Mari Ai, the goddess of cholera and five women, whose 
husbands are alive, are fed in the name of the goddess with the 
flesh of the animals sacrificed. Pochamma is then worshipped. 
BirphaU — the Bir procession resembles that in vogue among al^, the 
Maratha castes; before the procession starts, however, goats 
are sacrificed in the name of Birs. 
Devaka — is just like that of the Maratha Kunbis. Two booths cire 
erected at the girl's house, one for the marriage ceremony and 
the other, a small one, called the ' turmeric booth,' for cere- 
monially besmearing the bride with turmeric-paste and oil : only 
one booth (turmeric booth) is erected at the boy's house for the 
same ceremony. An earthen platform is built under the marriage 
booth. On a lucky day the bridegroom, with his friends and 
relatives, starts for the girl's village when, on arrival, he is taken 
to the temple of Maruti. Here he is formally welcomed by the 
bride's parents and, after the god has been worshipped, the party 
proceed to the brides house. The bridegroom goes straight to 
the marriage booth, where his mouth is rinsed with water by his 
mother-in-law, for which she receives a sari and choli. The 
bride being brought forward, the bridal pair stand opposite the 
earthen platform facing each other, each in a bamboo basket 
containing a bullock's tethering rope. A cloth is held between 
them by a Jangam or a Mang saint officiating as priest, and 
jawari, made yellow with turmeric, is sprinkled over their heads 
by the assembled guests and relatives, the priest all the while 
uttering auspicious verses. While thus standing, the bridal pa'ir 
are encircled five times with a fine spun cotton thread, of which 
subsequently two bracelets are formed, one of which is bound to 
the wrists of the bride and the other to that of the bridegroom, 
the ceremony being known as 'kankan-bandhanam.' Kanyadan, 



Mang 461 

or the formal gift of the bride, follows. The couple, with their 
garments knotted together, are then marched five times round the 
sacred fire kindled for the purpose, keeping it always to the 
right side, this ceremony constituting the binding portion of 
the marriage. Widows may marry again and divorce is 
recognised. 

Religion — The religion of the caste is animism, with a veneer 
of Hinduism. Mari Ai (goddess of cholera), Pochamma (goddess 
of small-pox), Hagisa''(a Mohamedan Pir) and male and female 
ancestors are prominent figures in their worship. In the month of 
Ashatiha (July), at night, the whole Mang community of a village, 
men, women, and children, crowd to the temple of the cholera 
deity with one big buffalo, five pigs and a number of sheep and 
fowls. The goddess is dressed in a green sari, bedaubed with 
Vermillion, and offered cocoanuts and dried dates. The animals are 
then worshipped and decapitated, one by one, first the buffalo, then 
the pigs and then the other beasts. The heads are arranged in a 
line before the gsddess, the buffalo's head, crowned with a lamp, 
occupying • the middle position. Much dancing, revelry and mirth 
prevail during the night. Early in the morning, the heads are buried 
in a trench, dug in front of the goddess, and the flesh is dressed and 
eaten by the votaries. Sitala Devi (Pochamma) is appeased when 
a member of the family has an attack of small-pox. The Birs, or 
departed male ancestors, engraved in human forms on copper or 
silver, are frequently honoured. The Hindu gods, Maruti, Bhavani, 
Mahadeva and others are not neglected. The members of the 
caste worship also the leather ropes that they make. Brahmins 
do not officiate as priests for fear of social degradation. 

Disposal of the Dead — The dead are burned with gold and 
Bel leaf {(Egle Marmelos) in the mouth. Mourning is observed for 
nine days. On the 9th day after death, the relatives of the dead 
perform ablution, clean the house and call in a Jangam to perform 
the rites of purification. The Jangam suspends a wreath of flowers 
from the roof over a copper jar, placed on the spot where the 
dead man's head rested. He next burns some cow-dung cakes 
and on the ashes he presses his conch, thus producing a mark. The 



462 Mang 

family members, one by one, touch the wreath and offer turmeric and 
red lead powder to the mark on the ashes. Food is' then offered 
and Ccimphor burnt. The Jangam receives a pice from every member 
of the household. Dirmer is given to the caste people on 'the 1 0th 
day after death. In the months of Vaishaikha and Bhadrapad the 
Sradha is performed in the name of departed ancestors in generzil. 

Social Status — The Mangs occupy the lowest grade in the 
Hindu caste system. Their touch is regarded unclean by the higher 
castes. They eat carrion, the flesh of all animals and the leavings 
of all castes except the Jinger and Buruds. f, 

Occupation — Their occupation is to weave flaxen tape for 
cots, to make ropes and to act as village criers and musicians to 
the higher castes ; they make brooms and mats from the date palm ; 
they are tanners, workers in raw hides and leather, shoe and harness 
makers, messengers, scavengers eind public executioners ; they are 
engaged as village watchmen ; as daily labourers they live from hand 
to mouth, but will never groom a horse. They show a tendency 
to crime and are closely watched by the police. They are_ very dirty 
in appearance, live outside the village and are not allowed to take 
water from the wells used by the higher castes. Their touch is 
deemed impure even by the Mahars. They have a strong belief in 
magic, ghosts and spirits and every sickness, however trifling, is 
attributed to some evil spirit lu'king in the neighbourhood. 



LXVII 
Mangala or Barber 

Mangala, Hajam, Nhavi, Napik, Warik, Mahali, Nayadaru— 
the barber caste of Telangana descended, according to Manu, from 
a Brahman father and a Shudra mother. The name Mangala (auspi- 
cious\ seems to have reference to the barber's presence which, in his 
professional capacity, is indispensable at the commencement of Hindu 
ceremonial acts. 

Origin — A variety of legends are current regarding the origin 
of the caste. According to one, they are the descendants of one 
Mangal Mahamuni, who was created by the_ Trinity (Brahma, Vishnu 
and Mahadeo) from their foreheads, to serve as a barber. Another 
version is that he was created by Brahma from a lotus flower. A 
third tradition says that as there was no barber in the world, the 
serpent king, Wasuki, was called upon by Shiva to issue from out 
his (Shiva's) navel to supply the want, and the barbers, as his 
descendants, called themselves Napik, a variant of Nabhik (navel- 
bom). One story ascribes their creation to the divine architect 
Vishwakarma. 

Internal Structure. — The Mangalas are divided into the fol- 
lowing five sub-castes : — (1) Konda or Sajjan Mangala, (2) Shri 
Mangala, (3) Raddi Mangala, (4) Maratha Warik, (5) Lingayit 
Warik. The name Konda, which means a ' hill ' in Telugu, throws 
no light upon the origin of the sub-caste. The members of the 
Konda Mangala sub-caste ascribe their origin to Ayoni Mathudu, or 
Kalyan Bhiknodu, who sprang from the third eye of Mahadeo. They 
claim to be of higher rank than the members of the Shri Mangala 
caste, who are supposed to be the offspring of a man begotten by 
a Konda Mangala man and a Balija woman. The three sub-castes, 
Konda, Shri and Raddi Mangalas represent the barber class of 
Telangana. 



464 Mangala or Barber 

The Maralha Wariks are indigenous to Marathawadi districts. 
In their features, customs, and even in their exogamous sections, the 
Maratha Wariks closely resemble the Maratha Kunbis and may on 
this account be regarded as a functional group formed out of the 
Kunbi caste. 

Lingayit Wariks are chiefly found in the Kamatic. They claim 
to be descended from Udupati Anna, who used to shave Basava and 
viai his favourite disciple. The Linga,yit Wariks are sub-divided 
into two groups ; the one is thoroughly influenced by the Jangams, 
the other only partially so influenced but still attached to their original 
customs and usages, eating flesh, burning their dead and obs€rving 
mourning for eleven days instead of nine. 

A few of the exogamous sections of the Mangala caste, given 
below, may illustrate the nature of their formation : — 



1 


Paspunolla. 




7 


Andolollu (a place). 


2 


Sirisollu. 




8 


Jalgamollu (a place). 


3 


MamidoUu. 




9 


Swaramollu (name of a 


4 


Jembollu. 






forefather). 


5 


Astakankanmollu. 


10 


Lingmollu (place). , 


6 


Godavarollu 


(river). 


11 


Chinnonollu. 



12 Narsoganollu (place). 

The first three sections are common to them and to the Kapus, 
and may have been borrowed from the latter. The remaining appear 
to have been recently introduced, having reference to the names of 
their forefathers or to the names of places which they occupied. 

The rule of exogamy is that a man cannot marry outside his 
sub-caste nor within the section to which he belongs. He can marry 
his wife's younger sister and his maternal uncle's daughter, but cannot 
marry his aunt or his first cousin. Members of higher castes are 
admitted into that of the Mangalas, no special ceremony being 
performed on the occasion. Women excommunicated for adultery 
or other offences from the higher castes, such as Kapu, Munnur, 
Mutrasi, Sali, &c., find admittance into this caste and enjoy all the 
rights of a Mangala woman. 

Marriage.—The Mangalas marry their daughters as infants, 
between the ages of five and twelve. The marriage ceremony corres- 



Mangala or Barber 465 

ponds to that of the Kapu caste. After a suitable match has been 
fixed upon and the preliminary negotiations have been completed, a 
formal visit is paid by the bridegroom's parents for the purpose of 
seeing the. bride. The parents of the bride then return the visit to 
see the bridegroom. An auspicious day for the wedding is then 
fixed. A fortnight before the ceremony, Pinnamma, the goddess of 
Fortune, is v^forshipped and her blessing is invoked on the couple. 
The bridegroom's people then proceed to the village of the girl, 
present her with a new sari and choli, adorn her with jewels and put 
the Prathan ring on her litfle finger. After paying Rs. 15 to the 
bride's parents (bride price), the party return, taking with them the 
bride and her people. A marriage booth is then erected, consisting 
of 6 posts, one post being of Umber {Ficus glomerata). The marriage 
ceremony is generally performed in the bride's pandal, but if 
the peirents of the bride are poor, it is celebrated in the bride- 
groom's. Early on the wedding day, mortars and grind-stones are 
worshipped by five married females, and turmeric and rice are ground 
to symbolise the preparation of the wedding articles. This ceremony 
is known as' Kotanum. Arveni Kundalu follows, in which earthen 
vessels, painted white, are brought under a canopy from the potter's 
house and deposited in the room dedicated tO' the household gods, in 
which auspicious lights are lit and kept burning constantly throughout 
the ceremony. The bridal pair, seated on a yoke in the midst of 
four earthen pots, encircled with five rounds of cotton thread, are 
then besmeared with turmeric and oil and bathed by a barber, who 
also pares their nails and claims their wet garments as his fees. 
After changing their wet clothes for bridal garments, the couple are 
taken before the household gods and made to worship the deity 
and the Arveni Kundalu vessels. Decked with bashingams, they are 
subsequently brought to the marriage booth and made to stand on a 
yoke facing each other with a screen held between them. Led by 
the Brahmin priest reciting benedictory verses, the assembly shower 
coloured rice on the heads of the couple and bless them. The 
subsequent ceremonies performed by the bridal couple are (i) 
Jelkatbelam, i.e., putting the mixture of cumin seed and jaggery on 
each other's heads, (ii) Padghattamm, each treading the other's foot. 
30 



466 Mangala or Barber 

(iii) Pusti, tying of the auspicious string by the bridegroom round the 
bride's neck, (iv) Kankanam. wearing thread bracelets, (v) Thalwal, 
throwing turmeric coloured rice on each other's heads, (vi) Karrsdddn, 
formal gift of the bride by her father to the bridegrpom, (vii) 
Brahmdmudi, tying the ends of the garments of the bridal pair in a 
knot, and lastly (viii) Arundhati Darshan, looking at Arundhati, 
represented by the pole star. The bride and bridegroom make 
obeisance to the family gods and the elders and are then given milk 
and curds to drink. The shastriya rites are thus brought to a close, 
the tying of the ' pusti ' and the formal giving a\vay of the bride 
(kan\}adan) by her father forming the essential and binding portions 
of the ceremony. Generally on the 14th day the ceremony of 
NagWeli is performed. Unhusked rice is spread on the ground in 
the form of a square with four earthen pots on the corners. The 
pots are encircled five times with a raw cotton thread. On the lice 
are placed the Arveni Kundalu pots and twelve platters of leaf, 
containing heaps of food crowned by lighted lamps. The wedded 
pair worship the sacred pots and the bridegroofn, taking a dagger 
in his hand, makes, with his bride, three turns round the polu. 
This ceremony is also known as "Talabalu." The bridegroom, 
carrying the shaft of a plough and a rope, walks a little distance 
and ploughs a piece of ground into furrows in which he sows seeds. 
While thus occupied, his child bride brings him some rice gruel to 
drink. The marriage is completed by (i) Pdnpu, in which the young 
pair are made to play with a wooden doll, a mimic drama of their 
future life, (ii) Vappaginthd, which makes over the bride to the care 
of her husband and his parents and (iii) Vadibium, in which the girl 
IS presented with rice, cocoanuts, fruit and other presents. Polygamy 
is permitted and no restriction is imposed upon the number of wives 
a man may have. 

Widow=Marriage — A widow is allowed to marry again, but 
not the brother of her late husband and in her choice of a second 
husband, she must not infringe the law of exogamy. Previous to the 
marriage, one rupee is given to the widow to enable her to purchase 
bangles and metalla (toe-rings). In the evening the widow goes to 
the house of her husband-elect and puts on new garments. A pusti 



Mangala or Barber 467 

(a string of black beads) is then tied round her neck, and cocoanuts, 
rice and dates« are presented to her. This marriage is termed Udki, 
or 'Chira Ravike.' 

DivOJCe. — Divorce is recognised and wives committing adultery, 
or not agreeing with their husbands, are divorced. The divorced 
women are allowed to many again by the same rites as widows. 
Adultery committed with a member of a higher caste is tolerated 
and may be punished slightly ; but a woman taken in adultery with 
a low casteman becomes outcaste. 

Inheritance — The Mangalas follow the standard Hindu Law 
of Inheritance. The usage of Chudawand prevails among this caste, 
as among the other castes of Telangana. Females can inherit in 
default of male issue. 

Religion. — The religion of the Mangalas differs very little from 
that of the Kapus, or other Telugu castes of the same social standing. 
They are either Namdharis, worshipping Vishnu in the form of 
Narsinhlu, or are Vibhutidharis and pay reverence to the God Siva. 
For religious and ceremonial purposes they employ Brahmins, who 
incur no social degradation on that account. The local deities, 
Pochamma, Ellama, and Mhaisamma are propitiated on Sundays 
and Thursdays wilii offerings of fowls, sheep and sweetmeat, a 
Kumar or a Chakia officiating as priest. On Ganesh Chauth, the 
4th of the lunar half of Bhadrapada (August-September), they honour 
the tools of their profession (razors, scissors, mirrors, &c.), when 
offerings are made of sweet dainties, which must contain the vegetable 
Tarrini \wa (Leucas Cephalotes). At a funeral ceremony a Satani 
is called in by the Namdharis and a Jangam by the Vibhutidharis. 

Disposal of the Dead — The dead are buried or burned in a 
lying posture with the head to the north and face to tJie east. 
Mourning is observed 10 days for married adults and 3 days for 
unmarried or for children. The ashes are either thrown into a river 
or a tank that is handy, or buried under a ' TarWad ' tree {Cassia 
auriculata), a platform being raised over them. On the last day of 
Bhadrapad they pour ' Til ' libations (Tilodak) in the name of the 
departed. Lingayit barbers bury their dead in a sitting posture and 
call in a Jangam to perform the funeral rites. 



468 Mangala or Barber 

Social Status. — The social status of the barber caste, accord- 
ing to Manu, was as high as that of the cultivators. From this 
[xwition the barber of the present day seems to have fallen, for 
socially the Mangala of these dominions rank below the Kapus, 
Munnurs, Mutrasis and all shepherd classes. They eat mutton, pork 
and the flesh of fowls, cloven-footed animals and both varieties of fish. 
They also eat the leavings of high caste people and indulge freely 
in spirituous liquors. 

Occupation — Shaving, which has been the traditional occupa- 
tion of the caste, includes nail-paring, 'shampooing and "cracking " 
the joints of the body. A village barber is not paid in cash but in 
grain, the quantity of which is settled for each plough, or he depends 
upon the annual produce of each farm. The usual charge for a 
shave in town is one anna. 

The barber is also the village chirurgeon and prescribes for small 
complaints. In the capacity of surgeon he opens boils and abscesses, 
cups and treats gangreneous parts. His wife also plays an im- 
portant part as a midwife and nurse. 

At Hindu weddings barbers are engaged as musicians, playing 
on drums and pipes (sanai), and as torch-bearers; they are not 
known to have lost their social status on this account. 



LXVIII 

Mang Garodi 

Mang Garodi, Rangidas Garodi, Firaste Mang, Pendhari 
Mang, Pahilwan — a wandering tribe of acrobats and mat-makers 
found in the Districts of Aurangabad, Bir, Parbhani, Usmanabad 
and Efidar. They profess to be a branch of the Mang caste of 
Maharashtra, but are disowned by the latter and, except in name, 
appear to have no connection with them. They move in gangs, 
from village to village, carrying their tents, goods and chatels on the 
backs of bullocks and barren cow-buffaloes. They generally encamp 
on the outskirts of villages, pitching their ' pals ' (huts) of bamboo 
mats with openings on all sides and with roofs covered with grass. 

Physical Chasacteristics and Habits — The men are strong and 
well set up and wear, like gymnasts, tight short drawers, a waist 
band and a carelessly folded rag as head gear. The women 
are very violent and quarrelsome. Their costume resembles that 
worn by Maratha females. They wear bangles on their wrists, 
brass ear-rings in their ears and bead necklaces round their necks. 
Their hair is never combed nor oiled and lies in dishevelled 
locks. Both men and women are dark in complexion and extremely 
ditty, not bathing for days together. They are considered to be 
habitual criminals and cattle-lifters and are, consequently, under the 
strict surveillcince of the police. Their home tongue is Marathi but, 
like other criminal tribes, they have a flash-slang of their own. It is 
customary among the males never to shave their heads after marriage 
but to allow the hair to grow on to the end of their lives. 

Internal Structure — Mang Garodis have several denomina- 
tions. They are called Rangidas Garodis, as they colour their bodies 
before exhibiting acrobatic feats. Their name ' Firaste ' indicates 
their roving habits and the name Pendhari refers to their criminal 
propensities ; being athletes, they are known as Pahilwans. 



(1) 


Sakat. 


(2) 


Kasab. 


(3) 


Hatakale 


(4) 


Jade. 


(5) 


Uphade. 


(6) 


Kamble. 


(7) 


Dehade. 



470 Mang Garodi 

The caste has no endogamous divisions. Their exogamous 
divisions are based upon family names, some ot which appear to 
resemble those of the Maratha Kunbis. Their exogamous sections 

are : — 

(9) Gade. 

(10) Londe. 

(11) Omap. 

(12) Fasge. 

(13) 'Bodke 

(14) Ukarde. 

(15) Gaikawad. 
(8) Made. (16) Hatagle. 

Excepting the Bodkes, all other families interdine and intermarry. The 
rule of exogamy is strictly observed, and a man is forbidden to marry 
a girl bearing his own surname. Two sisters may be married to the 
same man. In matters of prohibited degrees they follow the same 
laws as the other Mahratha castes. 

Mang Garodis admit into their community' members of other 
castes higher than themselves in social rank. No ceremony is observed 
on this occasion. 

Mang Garodis marry their daughters either as infants or as 
adults, between the ages of 2 and 20. Sexual intercourse before 
marriage is tolerated and if a girl become pregnant, her seducer is 
compelled to marry her. Polygamy is recognised and a man is 
allowed to have as many wives as he can afford to maintain. 

Marriage. — The marriage ceremony is very simple. A sheep 
or a fowl is killed as a sacrifice to their patron deity and the bride, 
dressed in green, and wearing green bangles and a black bead necklace, 
is taken to the wedding 'pal.' There the couple are made to stand 
face to face in bamboo baskets, a cloth is held between them and they 
are wedded with the sprinkling of grains over their heads. No Brahman 
attends the ceremony, but the functions of the priest are discharged 
by the caste elders. A bride-price amounting to Rs. 10 is paid to 
the parents of the girl. 

Widow= Marriage and Divorce — Widows are allowed to marry 
again and divorce is recognised. A divorced wife may marry again 



Mang Garodi 471 

by the same rite as widows ; but she forfeits the custody of all 
children she raay have had by her first husband. 

Inheritance — In point of inheritance, Mang Garodis follow 
their own« tribal usage. The price received for a girl becomes the 
property of her father and, failing him, it is divided equally among 
her brothers. 

Religion, — Like other nomad tribes, Mang Garodis are still 
animistic in their beliefs ^and worship ghosts, evil spirits and the gods 
of diseases, the chief of whom is Mari Ai, or the goddess that presides 
over cjiolera. When an epidemic breaks out in the camp, the goddess 
is worshipped with great pomp by the members of the caste. Bull 
buffaloes are sacrificed at her altar. The heads are buried before 
the shrine of the goddess and the trunks and limbs are cooked and 
eaten by her votaries. Under the influence of Brahmanism their 
primitive beliefs are undergoing a change and they now pay devotion 
to the gods of the Hindu pantheon. Khandoba is regarded by the 
caste as their patron deity and the dog, the emblem of the god, is 
worshipped by eacn householder on the light 6th of Margashirsha, 
when onions, brinjals and molasses are offered to the god and the caste 
people are feasted in his name. They pay reverence also to deified 
Mohamedan saints and martyrs (Pirs). The tiger is held in special 
reverence and no member will either injure or kill this wild beast. 
An oath by the dog is deemed sacred and binding. 

Disposal oi the Dead — The dead are buried in a lying posture 
with the head pointing to the west. The grave is circular and at 
the bottom a niche is cut for the reception of the head and the chest. 
The body, after being smeared with oil and washed with water, is 
carried to the grave by two men in a cloth bag called a ' zoli. The 
body being lowered into the grave and the head and the chest of tlie 
corpse placed in the niche, the grave is filled in ; the mourners bathe, 
hold grass in their mouths and return home. On the 3rd day after 
death three wheaten cakes are deposited on the top of the grave, one 
just over the head of the corpse, a second over the middle part and 
the third over its feet. On the 9th day, jaggery is distributed and a 
funeral feast is provided for caste brethren. Ancestors in general 
are propitiated once a year, when a new earthen pot is set up to 



472 Mang Garodi 

represent them and is worshipped with the sacrifice of a fowl. Mourn- 
ing is observed seven days by some and nine days «by others, no 
definite rule being prescribed on this point. 

Social Status — Mang Garodis occupy the lowest position in 
the Hindu social system, being only higher, in social rank, than 
Dakalwars, who are their genealogists and eat from their hands. 
Their touch is regarded as very impure and neither the village barber 
nor the village washerman will work for them. In matters of diet 
they have few scruples and eat beef, pork, mutton, fowl, wild cats, 
jackals, lizards and animals that have died a natural death. They 
eal the leavings of all castes, except the Dakalwars. They freely 
indulge in strong drinks. 

Occupation — As acrobats, Mang Garodis perform in the streets 
and entertain their audience by vaulting, tumbling, throwing summer- 
saults and exhibiting other physical feats. They also make bamboo 
mats, brooms and ropes and are occasionally engaged as farm 
labourers and in sinking wells. As already mentioned, they are 
looked upon by the police as cattle lifters and highway robbers and 
are not allowed to move from one place to another without a sur- 
veillance pass. This stringent measure seems to be producing the 
desired effect, as great numbers of them have repressed their criminal 
habits and are settling down to peaceful pursuits. 



LXIX 
Maratha 

(Titles:— Ji, Patel, Rao.) 

Maratha — the chief fighting, landholding and cuUivating caste 
of the Deccan, Berar and the Central Provinces, are confined, in 
Hyderabad Territory, to the Districts of Aurangabad, Bir, Parbhani 
and Usmanabad, parts of Nander and Bidar, and the Talukas of 
Sirpur and Rajura in the Adilabad district. Settlements of Marathas 
are also found in Telangana at Aregol (a colony of Ares or 
Marathas) in the Tekmal taluka and its neighbourhood, where they are 
supposed to have come with the armies of Raghoji Bhofala early 
in the eighteenth century. 

The T]erm Maratha — The term Maratha, like the cognate terms 
Bengali, Telanga, Gujarathi and the like, is the titular designation 
of a people embracing all classes of society in Maharashtra, from the 
high caste Brahmans and Parbhus and the low caste Nhavis and 
Parits, to the lowest unclean classes of Mahars and Mangs. But 
within the people themselves the name is borne, as their special 
designation, by the large fighting and landholding community; while 
the name ' Kunbi ' is popularly applied to those among them who 
are actually engaged in agricultural operations. 

Concerning the derivation and origin of the name Maratha there 
has been much discussion and the question cannot be considered as 
having been finally settled. Some authorities derive it from the 
words 'Mara hatta , occurring in Sanskrit dramas, and construe it as 
'Marata' tab 'hatatha meaning 'repulsed after death' and having 
reference to the proverbial tenacity of the Maratha race. Others 
hold that it is a corruption of the word Maha Rathod and accordingly 
trace the origin of Marathas to the Rathod family of Rajputana; but 
this derivation seems to be fictitious, as among the Rajputs there is 
no such family or gotra as Maha Rathod. Dr. Bhagwanlal, followed 



474 Maratha 

by Mr. Fleet, derives it from Maharashtra, the great country, a name 
which the early Sanskrit-knowing settlers in Upper Indian are supposed 
to have given to the unknown land to the south of Hindusthan. On 
the other hand. Dr. John Wilson thinks that neither in iVs ancient 
geographical extent nor in its histjorical importance is any very good 
reason found for such a designation. He proposes to trace Maha- 
rashtra to Mahar-rashtra. the country of the Mahars (Indian caste 
ii • — 48). "But though the Mahars are a large and important class in 
the Marathi speaking country, their depressed state makes it unlikely 
that the country should have been called after them." 
According to Dr. Bhandarkar, Maharashtra is the Sanskritised 
form of Maharattah, that is the country of the Mahratthis 
or Maharatths (the great Ratthis), a tribe mentioned by 
Ashoka In the copy of his rock-cut edicts (B. C. 245) preserved at 
Girnar, in which the Mouryan Emperor states that he sent ministers 
of religion to the Rastikas or Rattas (Sansk : Rashtrikas), the people 
of Maharashtra. The suggestion that! a branch of the Rattas, in 
very early times, took the name of Maharatthas, or Great Rattas, is 
supported by the practice of the Bhoj'a rulers of the Konkan and 
West Deccan, who are styled Bhojas in Ashok's thirteenth edict 
(B. C. 240) and Mahabhojas in rock-cut inscriptions in the Bedsa 
caves in Poona of about the first century after Christ. In the Telugu 
and Canerese districts the Rattas seem to be now represented by the 
Reddis. one of the leading classes of husbandmen. 

Traditions of Origin — The Marathas have no traditions which 
will throw light upon their origin. It would appear that the Maratha 
race was formed by the fusion of two great tribes represented, at the 
present day, by the Maratha (proper) and the 'Kunbi.' The high class 
Marathas are a fine manly race, as fair-skinned as Brahmans of the 
higher castes, of lofty stature, with the delicate Aryan type of 
features. They carry themselves with great native dignity and there 
is an indescribable air of refinement and high breeding in all they 
do or say. Their traditions are essentially warlike and the surnames 
they bear, Shirke, More, Mhosle, Mohite, recall many a stirring inci- 
dent in Maratha history. They claim to be of Rajput descent, a 
claim which is undoubtedly based on historical grounds. "In 1836 



Maratha 475 

the Raja of Satara sent a Shastri to the Rana of Udaipur to make 
enquiries regag-ding the origin of the Bhosles, a leading Maratha family. 
The Rana sent word that the Bhosle and his family were one and 
despatchod with a messenger, Raghunath Sing Zaie, a letter to the 
same effect, written by Raja Shahu in 1726 A. D. to Vaghi Sisode 
of Pimple, in Mewar (Udaipur). Raghunath Sing is reported to have 
satisfied himself, by enquiry at Satara, of the purity of blood of certain 
Maratha families, viz : — TFie Bhosles, Savants, Khanvilkars, Surves, 
Ghorpades, Chavans, Mohites, Nimbalkars, Sirkes, Ahirraos, 
Salonkhes, Manes, Jadhavs and several others. They profess to be 
divided into 96 (ninety-six) families or k^ls, many of which, such as 
Chavan (Chohan),- Pavar (Parmar), Salonke (Solanki), are corruptions 
of the names of well known Rajput clans, while the families More, 
and Cholke seem to represent the Maurya and Chalukya dynasties of 
ancient history. The members of this class profess to practise infant 
marriage, forbid the remarriage of widows and wear the sacred 
thread, being entitled, as they say, to the rank of Kshatriyas. The 
common Kunbi, on the other hand, is of medium height, sturdy, with 
dark skin and irregular features. He does not claim to be a 
Kshatriya, allows both adult marriage and the remarriage of widows 
and wears no thread to indicate the twice born status." (Bombay 
Census Report 191 1). 

The Kunbis, on the whole, represent those in whom the Scythian, 
(Rioley's People of India) and the Marathas those in whom the 
Aryan, element predominates. Although the distinction between high 
class Marathas and humble Kunbis is thus well marked, it gradually 
fades away and the ordinary Marathas cannot be distinguished from 
the Maratha Kunbis, with whom they interdine and intermarry freely. 
There is, in fact, no hard and fast line of demarkation between the two 
classes and there are instances of well-to-do Kunbis rising to the higher 
rank as their means increased and adopting finally the title of 
Kshatriya, 

Early History — "The earliest mention of the name 'Maratha' 
occurs in an inscription of about 100 B. C, which runs Maratha 
graniko Viro meaning "the leader of the Marathas.' Four other 
inscriptions in the Poona district mention gifts by a Maratha queen 



476 Maratha 

and by persons who called themselves Maharathas. The country of 
the Maharatha was first mentioned in Mahavanso, a Ceyjon Chronicle 
of the 5th century (480). Hiwen Thsang, the Chinese pilgrim 
(629-645), describes the warlike Maharathas as tall, boastful and 
proud. 'Whoever does them service (he says) may count upon their 
gratitude, but no one who offends them will escape their vengence. 
If any one insults them, they risk their lives to wipe out the 
affront, if any one in trouble applies fo them, forgetful to them- 
selves they will hasten to help him. In battle they pursue fugitives, 
but do not slay those who give themselves •up.' About 1020 the Arab 
geographer, Ali Biruni, mentions Marath Des as a country south of the 
Narbada. In 1340 the famous Arab traveller Ibn Batuta notices 
that the people of Devgiri modern Daulatabad, were Marhatas." 
(Bombay Gazetteer). 

It is not known under what form of Government the Marathas 
anciently dwelt. Early in the Christian era, Maharashtra is said to 
have been ruled by the great Shalivahan, whose capital was at Paithan 
on the Godavari. At a later period, a powerful dynasty of Chalukyas 
reigned over a large part of Maharashtra. The Chalukiyas rose to 
great power under Talap Dev in the 10th century and became extinct 
about the end of the 12th century, when the Yadav Rajas of Devgiri 
became supreme and were ruling a6 the time of the Mahomedan 
invasion in 1294. The Yadav dynasty was finally extinguished iti 
1312. 

The Marathas are often mentioned by the historian Ferishta in 
his history of the Deccan (1290-1600). In his account of the 
Musalman Turk conquest under Ala-uddin Khilji and his generals, 
Ferishta refers to the Marathas as the people of the province of 
Maharat or Mherat, dependent on Daulatabad and apparently con- 
sidered to centre in Paithan or, as it is written, Mheropatan. In 1318 
Harpal, the son-in-law of the Devgiri chief, rebelled and forced the 
Musulmans to give up several districts of Marath. In 1370 Jadhav 
Maratha, the chief of the Naiks, revolted in Daulatabad and collected 
a great army at Paithan. Till the end of the Bahmani supremacy 
(1490), some Maratha chiefs, among them the Rajas of Jalna and 
Baglan in Nasik, were practically independent, paying no tribute for 



Maratha 477 

years at a time; and even after this period, under the Ahmadnagar and 
Bijapur Icings^, one or two Maratha chiefs remained nearly independent. 
It appears in fact that prior to the time of Shivaji, the Maratha 
country was divided into little principalities and chief tanships, many 
of which were independent of the Mahomedan princes and never 
completely brought under subjection. Towards the close of the 
17th century, they suddenly started on a career of conquest, during 
which they obtained contl-ol over a great portion of India and 
established governments of shorter and longer duration at Satara, 
Kolhapur, Gwalior, Nagpur, Indore, Gujarath and Tanjore. 

* Characteristics — As a class, the Marathas are simple, frank, 
independent, liberal and courteous and, when kindly treated, trustful. 
They are a manly and intelligent race, proud of their former great- 
ness, fond of display and show and careful to hide poverty. Maratha 
women are kind, affable and simple and, with few exceptions, are 
good wives and managers. 

Internal Structure — The Marathas have no endogamous divi- 
sions, but a sort of loose, not properly developed, hypergamy prevails 
among the caste. The Marathas proper are allowed to many the 
daughters of Kunbis, but the latter could on no account secure a girl 
in marriage from their social superiors. The line between these is 
not, however, well defined and, excepting the rich Marathas and poorer 
Kunbis, intermarriages among them are freely allowed. For the 
purpose of exogamy the Marathas are divided into ninety-six ' kuls ' 
each of which is further sub-divided into a number of surnames. 
Besides these surnames, Maratha families have 'Devaks', or sacred 
symbols, which appear to have been originally totems and affect 
maniage to the extent that a man cannot marry a woman whose 
'Devak', reckoned on the male side, is the same as his own. They 
are totems, worshipped during marriage and other important ceremonies. 

The following are the chief devaks : — 
The panch pallav, or five leaves of : — 

1 . Wadh : — Ficus indica. 

2. Pipal : — Ficus religiosa. 

3. Hariali : — Cynodon dact\)lon. 

4. Apta. — Brauhimia racemosa. 



478 Maratha 

5. Jambul : — Eugenia jambolana. — also 

Kadamb : — A nthocephalus Cadamba . 

Lotus : — Nelumbiitm speciosum. 

G>nch shell. 

Turmeric tubers. 

Gold. 

Keora, Kedgi : — Pandanus odoratissimus . 

Umbar, Guler : — Ficus glomerata. ' 

Nag champa : — Mesua jerrea. 

Rui : — Calatropis gigantea. 

Peacock's feather. 

Lamps : — 360 in number. 

Sword. 

Mango leaf : — Mangijem indica. 

Bhardwaj : — Feather of a crow pheasant. 

Bamboo. 

Wreath of Onions. 

Rudraksha : — Elosocarpus Ganitrus. 

Surya Kant : — Crystal. 

Shami : — Prosopis spicigera. 

Eagle's feathers. 

Nirgur, or Santhalu Sanbhatu : — Ki/ex Negundo or trijolia. 

Marvil : — Andropogon scandens — (Bauhinia racemosa'?) 

Aghada : — Ach\)ranihes aspera. 

Marriag(£. — A man may marry his maternal uncle's daughter. 
He may also marry two sisters, provided that he does not marry the 
younger first. Polygamy is permitted and, in theory, a man may 
marry as many wives as he can afford to maintain. Practically, how- 
ever, the standard of living of the caste limits him to two. 

The Marathas marry their daughters either as infants or as 
adults; but the former usage is regarded as more respectable from the 
social point of view. The marriage ceremony is of the orthodox 
type. The first step towards initiating proposals for marriage is taken 
by the father or guardian of the bridegroom. After the preliminary 
negotiations, as regcirds the bride or bridegroom price have been 
completed, both parties being satisfied with their mutual inspection, 



Maratha 479 

it is ascertained whether the horoscopes of the bridal pair agree and 
that there are no objections to the marriage on the ground of the 
sameness of Devak; auspicious days are then fixed by consulting a 
Brahmin for — 

1. Besmearmg the bride and bridegroom with turmeric and oil. 

2. The wedding rite. 

3. 'Sade' or procession to bring the bridal pair to the 

bridegroom's hojise. 
The wedding takes place at the girl's house and the boy is 
conducted in procession from his own to the girl's village. The 
mm(kp, or marriage pandal, made of Mango, Umbar and Jambul 
leaves and supported on five pillars, is erected at the houses of both 
parties, with the difference that at the girl's house an earthen platform 
(Bohola) is built under the marriage booth. 

The following observances make up the marriage ceremony as 
celebrated by the Marathas : — 

I. Kunku Lavne: — (betrothal) the boy's father goes to the 
girl's house and presents her with two pieces of bodice 
<;loth and jewels, smears her forehead with Kunku (red 
aniline powder) and puts sweetmeat in her mouth. 

2. On the next day the girl's father and friends visit the boy 
and is entertained by his father. 

3. Turmeric ceremony : — Two or three days previous to the 
wedding the bride and her mother are besmeared with tur- 
meric powder mixed with fragrant oil and are bathed by five 
married women whose husbands are living. The bride is 
then dressed in yellow clothes and presented with jewels 
by the boy's mother. TTie ' Muhurta Medh,' or wedding 
post, is planted at the entrance of the marriage pandal. A 
part of the turmeric prepared for the bride is sent, accom- 
panied by music, for the use of the bridegroom, who has to 
undergo the same process of besmearing as the bride. 

4. Worship of the Devak, or marriage guardian : — This cere- 
mony is performed by both parties each in their own house. 
A day or two previous to the wedding a branch of the tree, 
representing the ' Devak ' of the family, is placed in a 



480 Maratha 

winnowing fan and brought in procession to the house. It 
is placed near the family gods and worshipped with offerings 
of flowers. In the meanwhile girls wash a grinding stone 
(jate), daub it with sandal paste and offer flowers and 
sweetmeats to it. 

5. Srmant Pujan, or the ceremonial reception of the bridegroom 
at the boundary of the girl's village : — A procession is formed 
conducting the bridegroom on horse hack to the girl's village 
where, on arrival, they stop at the temple of the village 
Maruti. One of the company, a relative of the boy and 
known for the occasion as Wardhava, is sent to the girl's 
house to intimate to her father that the boy and his party 
have arrived. Thereupon the girl's fatlier, with friends 
and music, goes to meet the bridegroom's party. The 
combined parties then proceed to the girl's house. 

6. On arrival the boy dismounts; a ball of cooked rice is waved 
over his head and thrown aside and his eyelids are touched 
with water. After this he is conducted to a seat under the 
wedding canopy and near the earthen platform (Bohola). 
At the auspicious moment the bride Joins him 'and is 
seated on the left of the bridegroom. 

7. Antarpat : — The bridal pair are made to stand in bamboo 
baskets facing each other and a curtain is held between 
them. The priest repeats mantras, or sacred texts, and the 
guests throw red coloured rice over them. This is deemed 
to be the binding and essential portion of the ceremony. 

8. Kanyddan : — The girl's maternal uncle puts the girl's right 
hand into those of the bridegroom and her father pours water 
over their hands. This symbolises the giving away of the 
bride by her father and the acceptance of the gift by the 
bridegroom. After Kanyadan has been performed, the 
bridegroom ties the Mangal sutra, or the string of black 
beads, round the girl's neck. 

9. Horn, or sacred fire : — The bridal pair, with their garments 



Maratha 481 

knotted, are seated on the earthen platform, the bride to the 
left cA her husband. Horn, or sacred fire, is kindled before 
them and ghi is thrown over it. When the fire is well 
ablaze, the bridal pair walk round it seven times, keeping it 
always to their right. 

10. Kankan bandhanam : — Thread bracelets are tied on the 
wrists of the bridal, pair. 

The next three daye are spent in feasting and merry-making. 
On the fourth day Sade taj^es place, that is the bridal pair return 
in proTjsssion to the bridegroom's house. This ends the marriage. 

Even though a girl has attained puberty, the consum- 
mation does not form part of the marriage ceremony. The consum- 
mation ceremony is put off till the girl's first menopause after the 
marriage. In performing the ceremony of puberty the girl is seated in 
a separate room. She is dressed in a new sari and bodice, her fore- 
head is besmeared with vermilion on which rice grains are stuck and 
lines of vermilion ar,e drawn on her feet. Female friends and rela- 
tives present, her with sweet dishes, and musicians are engaged to 
play at the house, while the ceremony lasts. The girl is unclean 
for three days. On the fourth she is smeared with turmeric and 
oil and bathed and a lucky day between the fourth and the sixteenth 
is named for the performance of the Garbhadan ceremony (purifica- 
tion of the womb). On the morning of the auspicious day, 
the girl and her husband are besmeared with turmeric and fragrant 
oil and bathed while music plays. After exchanging clothes the 
couple make obeisance to the family gods and the elders. At noon a 
feast is given to women. In the evening the ceremony called 
Otibharan, or lap filling, is performed. The pair are seated on 
two low wooden stools set in a square of rice or wheat, the girl to ! .e 
left of the boy, and the foreheads of both are bedaubed with vermilion. 
Grains of rice are stuck on the vermilion and married women fill a 
fold of the girl's sari with a bodice cloth, wheat, cocoanut, fruit ar.d 
betelnuts. The couple are presented with clothes and jewels by their 
respective fathers-in-law, after which they retire. 

The remarriage of widows is strictly forbidden nor is divorce 
permitted among the high class Marathas ; but the Kunbis allow 

31 



4S2 Maratha 

their widows to marry again. The ceremony is very simple. The 
bride is presented with one rupee by the bridegroom for the purchase 
of bangles. On a dark night the bridal pair are seated side by side 
and the Brahmin officiating at the ceremony »ies their garments in a 
knot and daubs their foreheads with Kunkum (red powder). Divorce 
is permitted with the sanction of the caste panchayat and divorced 
wives may marry again by the same form as widows. 

Religion. — The rich and high class Marathas follow the 
Brahmanic religious usages, observing qlmost all the sixteen sacra- 
ments (Samkaras) and conducting their daily worship in a Brihmanic 
fashion. The religion of kunbis in general is a sort of Animism 
with a veneer of Hinduism. Their chief objects of worship are 
Bhairav, Bhavani, Khandoba, Mhasoba, Maroti, Vaghoba, Vithoba, 
Munja, Vir, and the sisters Jokhai, Janai, Kalkai, Metisai, Mukai 
and Navlai. 

Bhairav, the usual village guardian, has two forms, ' Kal Bhairav ' 
and ' Bai Bhairav.' Kal Bhairav is represented as a man standing 
with a damaru (drum shaped hour glass) in one hand acid a trident 
in the other. A slab of stone daubed with vermilion and oil repre- 
sents Bal Bhairav. Bhairav is supposed to cure snakebite and foretell, 
by signs, whether an undertaking will prosper or fail. Twice a year, 
at the time of reaping and sowing, he is worshipped with offerings of 
goats and cocks. Children are dedicated to this god by Kunbis in 
fulfilment of a vow and enrolled subsequently into the Bharadi caste. 
Bhavani (consort of Shiv) is worshipped in the form of a rude 
image, sword in hand, with offerings of goats and cocks. The goddess 
is the tutelary deity of all Marathas, high as well as low, and has a 
shrine at Tuljapur in the Usmanabad District, to which all her 
devotees have to make pilgrimage at least once in their lives. 

Khandoba, an incarnation of Shiv and guardian deity of the 
Deccan, has a three-fold aspect. As a horseman, with sword in 
hand and his wife Mhalsabai sitting by his side, he is Malhari, the 
form he took when he destroyed the demons Mani and Malla. As 
an animal, he is the dog who runs besides his horse and is called 
Khandi. As a plant, he is turmeric powder, under the name of 
Bhandar. The god is universally worshipped in fhe Deccan and has 



Maratha 483 

a temple at Jejuri which is said to be very rich. 50,000 rupees being 
expended yearly in the expenses and establishment for the deity. The 
god and his spouse are bathed in Ganges water, perfumed with 
I'tr of roses, and decorated with gems. The revenues are derived 
from houses and lands given by pious people and from presents and 
offerings constantly made by all descriptions of votaries and visitors, 
according to their means. Tp this god, as to Bhavani, children are 
devoted, the bovs after dedication being called 'Waghes' and the girls 
'Murlis'. The image of hiij horse is made of metal and not of stone 
or wocJ. 

Mhasoba, or Mhaskoba, the most widely feared of all the evil 
spirits, is represented by an unhewn stone smeared with vermilion and 
oil. He is believed to be instigated, by evil minded men, to terrorise 
and black-mail people and a kunbi fearing the wrath of the deity 
will make any offering to appease him. 

Maroti, also called Hanuman, is worshipped in the form of 
a rudely engraved figure of a monkey. No village in Marathawada is 
without a tejnple of Maroti, which is situated either inside or outside 
the village, but generally at the gate. He is a kindly god, saviour 
of those possessed by evil spirits and very fond of cocoanuts. 

Vaghoba, the tiger god, is worshipped as the guardian of village 
cattle from the attacks of tigers. 

Munjas are the spirits of male ancestors who die unmarried, 
while the spirits of the married are called ' Vir' . These are wor- 
shipped in every Maratha household. 

The sisters, Jokhai, Janai, etc., or local mothers as they 
are called, represent the terrible character of Bhavani and are sup- 
posed to do much mischief. They blast crops, plague men with 
sickness and carry off travellers. 

When cholera breaks out, the members of the caste make a 
variety of offerings to Mari Ai, while Sitala, or the goddess presidmg 
over small pox, is propitiated when an epidemic rages. 
Besides these minor deities, the Marathas reverence the greater gods 
of the Hindu pantheon, such as Shiv, Ramachandra, Ganpati, 
Krishna, Dattatraya and others. Brahmans are employed for reli- 
gious and ceremonial purposes. The tools of the craft are honoured 



484 Maratha 

on Dasera, or the 10th of the light half of Asin (October). 
The principal festivals observed are : — 

1. Holi or Shimga : — This begins on the full moon of Falguna 

(March) and ends on Rangapanchmi, or the 5th of the 
dark half. At night a great bonfire of cowdung cakes 
is made and men and children gather round it vocifera- 
ting violently and making a great noise. The 
night is spent in singing and dancing, in which boys, 
dressed like dancing girls, play tfie part of' women. Next 
day the people give themselves up to boisterous mirth, 
giving full vent to their passions and a regular satur- 
nalia ensues, during which boys forget their reverence for 
elders and men their respect for women. Women take 
no part in these proceedings. 

2. Nag Panchami, observed in honour of the cobra snake on the 

fifth of the light half of Shravan (July). The women 
of the village, after feasting, resort in the afternoon with 
music to a white-ant hill in which a Gobra is believed to 
be and offer milk and sugar before the hill* while the 
priest recites prayers. They join hands and dance 
round the ant-hill in a ring, alternately stooping and 
rising and keeping time to a song sung in chorus. At 
intervals they take parched rice and throwing it on each 
other's heads inquire their husband's name. 
Note. — In most castes a woman will not pronounce her 
husband's name. 

3. Mahalaxmi festival : This takes place in Bhadrapad 

(August-September). A figure of Laxmi is painted on 
paper and worshipped by women with offerings of flowers, 
fruit and sweetmeats. 

4. Pola : — This also takes place in August. The oxen 

are allowed rest on this day and worshipped by their 
masters. Their horns are decked with tassels of Palas 
fibre (Buiea jrondosa), garlands of flowers are put round 
their necks and they are fed with sugar. In the evening 
bhey are driven round the village Maroti's temple. The 
day ends with a feast. 



Maratha 485 

5. Pitra Puksha : — Feast to the manes of male ancestors. 

6. Dasera : — Commemoration of the fight between Ram and 

Ravan, or of the defeat of the buffalo-demon Mahisasur 
' by the goddess Bhavani. Horses are bathed and de- 
corated with flowers, a sheep is sacrificed and its blood 
is sprinkled over them. In the evening the villagers 
cross in a body the village boundary, worship the Apta- 
tree (Bauhmjfi racemosa), offer its leaves to the village 
gods, exchange them among friends and then return home. 

7. Divali : — Illuminations in honour of the event of Mahadev 

killing the demon Narkasur. It continues for three days, 
spent in feasting, illuminations and fireworks. 

8. Shivratra : — Fast in honour of Shiv. 

9. Padva : — New year's day. 

10. Akshatritiya : — Offerings of water are made to three gene- 
rations of dead ancestors and field operations for the new 
year begin. 

In the Holi, tfie Pola and Dasera festivals, one great point is 
the acknowledgment of seniority in the village. At Holi, a heap 
of cow-dung cakes is made and the senior man worships before it 
first and then tiie others in turn. At Pola, a rope is held up and 
the cattle pass in procession underneath it according to the position of 
their owners. At the Dasera the senior man in the village tells the 
Mang to bring a male buffalo or sheep. He then wounds 
it on the neck and puts some of the blood on the threshold of the 
village temple; the buffalo or sheep is then taken before the idol and 
decapitated and its head is buried in front of the idol. 

Spirits, Sorcery and Suiperstitions — The Kunbis have a 
strong belief in spirits (Bhut) and the black art. Women who die in 
childbirth, persons who are murdered, or die a violent death or with 
their desires in this world unfulfilled, are liable, after death, to re- 
appear as ' Bhuts,' or malevolent ghosts, and trouble the living. 
The male ghosts are called 'Zotings' and the female ghosts 'Hadal'. 
Among the worst female ghosts are the seven water nymphs called 
Jaldevatas, or Asras, who cany off handsome youths. The Asras are 
the ghosts of young women, who, after giving birth to one or more 



cal 
a 



inn 



486 Maratha 

children, commit suicide by drowning themselves. Their favourite 
offerings are cooked rice, turmeric, red powder (kpnku^) 
and bodice cloth. Ghosts haunt large trees, lonely places, empty 
houses and old wells and are generally seen or heard at noon or 
midnight. They take many forms — a deer, a tail figure, or a strange 
ox or goat. The ghost enters into the body of a person, maddens 
him, destroys his cattle, kills his family and turns his joy into sorrow. 
In such cases an exorcist (Jhanta) (wise 'man) is called in to identify 
the spirit at work and to appease it by gifts of money, goats and 
fowls. Gethal, the leader of ghosts, is also approached by the 
patient and promised a fowl or a goat if he will order his spirits 
to cease troubling. The services of Jhantas (exorcists) are also 
lied in to ascertain whether the misfortunes or ailments from which 
man is suffering are due to the displeasure of deities or to witch- 
craft and to prescribe the cure. The evil eye is believed in and its 
fluence is attributed to inordinate appetite on the part of the person 
ho has overlooked any object. Its effects may be averted by 
mixing red mustard seeds and salt, waving the 'mixture round the 
head three times and then throwing it into the fire. To ward off 
the evil from the crops, a blackened earthen pot, with rude devices 
scrawled on it in white paint, is stuck up in the fields. A Kunbi 
will never congratulate a friend on his prosperity, his fine oxen or 
his handsome wife. If he does, ill luck may befall, and the friend 
be deprived of his good fortune. 

Child=Birth — A Maratha woman is unclean for ten days after 
childbirth, during which time no one except the midwife is allowed 
to touch her. When labour approaches, a detached room in the house 
is prepared for her, to which she retires and from which fresh air is 
excluded as far as possible. The duty of the midwife is to make the 
patient walk to and fro so as to increase the pains and, when the child 
is bom, to cut the navel string with a knife and announce the event to 
the relatives of the woman. After the cord has been passed over the 
face of the child and buried, the mother and child are smeared with 
turmeric and oil and bathed in hot water. The mother is given butter 
and myrrh pills and the child is dosed with three or four drops of castor 
oil The mother is fumigated by burning ' Vavading ' {Embelia 



Maratha 487 

Rihes), ' Owa ' or Ajwan {Carum copticum) and 'Baluntshcp or 
Soya, Dill (Peucedanum graveolens), in the room and is laid, with 
her child, on a cot with a small fire of live coal set under it. That 
no evil , spirit may enter the room, an earthen pot of 
cow's urine is placed at the door and ail visitors are 
required to sprinkle a few drops of the urine on their feet before they 
enter. An oil lamp, placed within the room, is ' kept burning 
throughout the night. On the fifth and the sixth days after birth. 
Mother Satwai" is worshiped, in the form of an armless image, with 
offering of flowers, fruit ahd cooked food and invoked to protect 
the child from evil influences. On the 10th day the house is 
plastered with cowdung, the mother bathes and is free from child 
impurity. On the 12th day after birth the child is named and a 
feast is given to relatives and members of the caste in honour of lihe 
event. The ceremony is called Barsi. The child receives two 
names, one after the star under which it is supposed to have been 
born, and the other a familiar name by which it is called. Prayers 
for the child are offered to Kul Swami and to the household gods and 
Brahmins are sometimes feasted. In the second year the child's hair 
is cut, the ceremony being called 'Jaiwal'. 

Disposal of the Dead — When a Maratha dies, a small piece 
of gold is put in the mouth of the deceased. The body is bathed, 
dressed in a white sheet and laid on a bier, to which it is tied fast 
with strings. After betel leaves, flowers and red powder have been 
thrown upon it, it is carried to the burning ground on the shoulders of 
relatives and friends. On arrival there, the corpse is again bathed and 
laid head southward on the funeral pyre, which is composed generally 
of cowdung cakes. When the body is nearly consumed, the party 
bathe and return home. In the meanwhile the women smear the whole 
house of the deceased with cowdung, spread rice flour on the spot 
where the deceased breathed his last, set a burning lamp on it and 
cover the lamp with a bamboo basket. On their return the funeral 
party examine the spot where the rice flour is spread to see if there 
are any marks resembling the prints of an animal's foot. If any marfc 
bearing resemblance to an animal's foot print is seen, it is believed that 
the spirit of the dead has passed into the animal indicated by the foot- 



488 Maratha 

print. On the third day after death, the ashes are collected and, ex- 
cept a few bones which are buried somewhere near the burning 
ground, are taken to a river and thrown into the water. Sradha 
is performed on the 1 0th day after death when pinias, o»i balls of 
rice, are offered to the spirit of the deceased. On the eleventh day the 
mourners, who have been impure since the death, are cleansed and 
present Brahmins with money and clothes. A feast, on the thirteenth 
day, to the relatives and members of the caste concludes the 
funeral ceremony. Libations of water are offered for' the benefit of 
departed ancestors in general in the dark half of the month of 
Bhadrapad (August-September) and on the third day of the light half 

of Vaishak (May). 

Social Status — The social status of Marathas differs according 
to the different grades of society. The high class Marathas, espe- 
cially those related to ruling families, claim to be Kshatriyas, profess 
to follow Vedic rites and eat cooked food only from the hands of 
Brahmins and from no other castes. The middle classes among the 
Marathas are not so punctilious in their observances and will eat from 
those castes who abstain from flesh and strong drinks. The ordinary 
Kunbi, on the other hand, has no scruples to eat with a Mali, Koli, 
Dhangar, Hatkar or with other communities holding the same social posi- 
tion. As regards diet, a Maratha will eat fowl and fish and the flesh 
of goats, deer, hare, pigeon and quail and indulge occasionally in 
strong drink. 

Occupation. —The bulk of the Marathas follow agriculture as 
their chief occupation. They are occupancy and non-occupancy rai- 
ats, some have acquired substantial tenures, while a few earn a live- 
lihood as landless day labourers. Many of the caste are employed 
as personal servants in the households of the higher castes. Many of 
them are Patels, or village headmen, holding service lands. Some of 
them are Deshmukhs who were formerly the superior officers of Par- 
gana or revenue divisions. They were employed by the earliest 
Mohamedan governments and acted as middlemen between the culti- 
vators and the State. In course of time they rose to great local import- 
ance and became landed proprietors and Zamindars. The Deshmukhs 
nave now no official duties ; but their families enjoy certain allowances 



Maratha 489 

which are charged against the land revenue. A small proportion 
of the Maratkas have taken to other pursuits and are either members 
of learned professions or of Government service. The Maratha regi- 
ments of 'the Indian army are mainly recruited from the members 
of this caste. 

Maratha Kunbis are excellent cultivators and in the management 
of the staple food crops they^ show remarkable talents. In gardening, 
they are less skilful thqn the Malis. To ensure an abundant crop 
of sugarcane the following custom is observed by the Maratha Kunbis. 
Someipieces of cane are arranged in the form of a tiger and the planter, 
squatting before the figure, worships it with offerings of flowers, 
sandal paste, wheat-cakes and pjurched rice. 

The Marathi speaking cultivators, found in the northern part of 
the Adilabad district, are popularly supposed to be an offshoot from 
the Maratha Kunbis. Very little is, however, known concerning 
their origin, nor have they any traditions which will throw light upon 
the subject. They are divided into three sub-castes. Khaira, Dha- 
nojia and T'role, who interdine but do not intermarry. The Dha- 
nojias are dark in complexion and coarse featured while the physical 
characteristics of the other two are much the same as those of Maratha 
Kunbis. 

Their exogamous sections are mostly of the territorial character 
with a little admixture of totemistic names. The following are given 
as specimens : — 

Territorial. 

Rajurkar (Rajura). 

Machankar. 

Lonare (Lonar in Berar). 

Nagpurya (Nagpur). 

Bonkar. 

Malikar. 

Kondhekar. 

Totemistic. 

Gadgya (earthen pot). 

Pippal Shendya (Pipal tree). 

Kakdya (cucumber). 



490 Maratha 

Aswalya (bear). 
Maske (butter). 

Marriage within the same section is forbidden. Infant, marriage 
is in full force, girls being married between the ages of one and five 
and the boys between three and ten years. Polygamy is permitted 
without limit, but a man cannot marry more than one unmarried girl, 
the others must be widows or divorced wives. 

The marriage ceremony is partly of the Maratha, and 
partly of the Telugu type. After the inspection of the 
bride and the bridegroom by their respective parents, the question 
of brideprice to be paid to parents is settled. The amount varies 
from fifteen rupees to thirty rupees according to the circumstances of 
the bridegroom's party. Marriage pandals are erected at the houses 
of both parties, with the exception that at the girl's house a circular 
earthen platform, with a post of Sal planted in the centre, is built 
under the wedding booth. The wedding takes place at sunset. As 
among Maratha Kunbis, Antarpat is deemed to be the binding portion 
of the ceremony. Widows may marry again and are bound by no 
conditions in their choice of a second husband, except that they must 
not infringe the rules regarding prohibit?ed degrees. The ceremony 
in use at the remarriage of a widow is the same as is described in the 
article on the Barai caste. Divorce is permitted on various grounds, 
and divorced women are allowed to marry again by the same form 
as widows. In matters of religion the members of the community 
affect to be orthodox Hindus, and regard Kudbhan with special rever- 
ence. Among their other gods are Bhavani and Balaji. Ancestral 
worship is in full force and the souls of all departed ancestors are 
worshipped in the form of silver plates with embossed figures. The 
dead are burned and libations of water are poured forth for the 
propitiation of ancestors in the month of Bhadrapad. Brahmans are 
employed for religious and ceremonial purposes. Agriculture is 
believed to be their original occupation and in point of social status 
they hold the same position in Adilabad as Maratha Kunbis in 
the Maiathawada districts, ranking below the Brahman, Komti, 
Lingayat, Marwadi and other castes who abstain from flesh and drink. 



Maratha 491 

The following statement shows the number and distribution of 
Marathas in, 1911 : — 



Hyi^erabad City 
Atraf-i-Balda 
Warangal . . . 
Karimnagar 
Adilabad 
Medak ' ... 
Nizamabad 
TVIahbubnagar 
Nalgunda 
Aurangabad 
Bir 

Nander 
Parbhani 
Gulbarga 
Usmanabad 
Raichur 
Bidar ' ... 



Males. 


Females 


3,200 


3,096 


4,223 


4,064 


4,814 


4.640 


8,710 


8,014 


42,990 


42,861 


1,781 


1,693 


3,154 


3,148 


905 


888 


2,824 


2,023 


158,453 


158,490 


122,095 


122,088 


77,459 


77,452 


136,523 


137,597 


20,040 


19,917 


123,672 


118,578 


3,959 


3,654 


58,076 


57,793 



LXX 

MaRWADI (Bania) 

Marwadi Bania, Mahajan, Sahukar — a ferm denoting the com- 
mercial classes that came from Marwar and settled in these dominions. 
They are found all over the country, but chiefly abound in the icities 
of Hyderabad, Aurangabad, Jalna, Parbhani, Nander, Gulbarga and 
other centres of commercial activity. Among native traders they 
occupy a pre-eminent rank, being mill-owners, bankers, brokers, 
money-lenders, grain and cloth dealers and shopkeepers. The majori- 
ty of these settlers keep in communication with their native land, 
visiting it from time to time, and many return home in old age to 
pass the remainder of their days in peace. They^ are fine looking, 
tall, strongly built men with affable manoers and industrious habits. 
Their thrift and love of money is proverbial. 

Internal Structure — The Marwadi Banias include (1) Mesri 
or Mahesri, (2) Agarwal, (3) Oswal, (4) Porwal, (5) Shrawak and 
several other sub-castes. 



LXX-A 

Marwadi-Mesri 



Mesri or Mahesari — profess to trace their descent from the Rajputs 
of the Chauchan, Panwar and Salunki clans and owe their name to the 
following legend : — A Rajput prince of the Chauchan clan went out one 
day on a hunting excursion accompanied by seventy-two followers. 
While wandering in the jungles, they saw some Rishis performing a 
sacrifice and, under the influence of intoxication, disturbed 
the sacrificial rites. The enraged sages pronounced a curse upon 
them and turned the whole party into stones. At the entreaty of 
Parwati. Mahesha (Mahadeo) restored them to life and enjoined them, 
under the name of Mahesari (devotees of Mahesha), to follow in 



Marwadi 



493 



future the occupation of Vaishyas, or traders. 

Internal. Structure —The Mahesaris are divided into 72 exo- 
gamous sections or 'Khamps' each being founded by one of the fol- 
lowers of, the Rajput prince. These sections are said to be further 
divided and subdivided into 989 sub-sections or 'Nakhas.' 

The following is the list of the 22 'Khamps' : — 



Mundada. 




Chatadangya. 




Jakhatya. 


Malu. 




Buba. 




Kahaliya Banali. 


Ada!. 




Jaju. 




Padtati. 


Soni. , 




Chopada. 




Nayati. 


Malpani. 




Kantadi. 




Bindala. 


Daga. 




Heda. 




Gatani. 


Chandaga. 




Baladi. 




Bhandari. 


Tapadiya. 




Lada. 




Tawari. 


Kayara. 




Bayani. , 




Lakhotya. 


Lavari. 




Bajaj. 




Somani. 


Bangar. 




Sajada. 




Sodhani. 


Inani. 


<* 


Luya. 




Sara. 


Kankani. 




Bangdya. 




Kalani. 


Navandhar. 




Bharad. 




Barla. 


Baldava. 




Totala. 




Chapparwal. 


Khatur. 




Asava. 




Agiwal. 


Malanialani. 




Bhujada. 




Randada. 


Darak. 




Mudani. 




Banali. 


Mantri. 




Zumavar. 




Hurkat. 


Rathi. 




Mandhanya. 




Girla. 


Navagaja. 




Tusaniwal. 




Kabra. 


Bhura. 




Magad. 




Ajmera. 


Bayati. 




Manyar. 




Gagrani. 


Karwa. 




Khadloya. 




Agsor. 


The gotra rule 


;, or the 


: prohibition of 


marriage 


into one's own gotra. 


is elaborately 


supplemented. Thus a 


man is 


forbidden to marry a 


woman (I) descended i 


from his paternal 


or maternal grandfather, great- 


grandfather or 


great great-grandfather, 


(2) descended from his mater- 


nal or paternal 


aunt. 


He is allowed 


to marrj 


r the younger sister of 


his wife but not when 


the latter is alive. 





494 Marwadi 

Marriage. — Girls are married both as infants and as adults 
between the ages of 9 and 16. Immediately after the 'ceremony, an 
adult girl is sent to her husband's house. If married as an infant, the 
girl has to wait until the performance of a ceremony, which may be 
deferred till the girl attains the age of maturity, but which is gene- 
rally performed one year, three years, or five years after the marriage 
ceremony. If a girl goes wrong before marriage she is turned out of 
the caste. Polygamy is permitted to any extent theoretically, but is 
rarely practised in actual life and is resorted to only if the first wife is 
barren or incurably diseased. It is not unusual for girls to be mcrried 
to boys who are younger than themselves. The Mahesaris are said 
to pay prices for brides which sometimes amount to Rs. 5,000. The 
marriage ceremony is celebrated on the model of that of Marwadi 
Brahmins and comprises many and complicated rites. The family 
priest, with a barber, is employed as match-maker and his first care is 
to see if the horoscopes of the couple agree, so that their matrimonial 
union may prove fruitful and happy. The marriage ceremony begins 
with Haidi, or the ceremonial besmearing of the bridal , pair with 
turmeric paste and oil. Earthen pots are next brought in procession 
from the potter's house by each party separately and placed near the 
household deities. Previous to the wedding, the guzu-dian and village 
deities, the nine planets and the souls of departed ancestors are pro- 
pitiated and invoked to attend the ceremony. On the wedding 
morning bridal presents, consisting of the bride's clothes, ornaments 
and other articles are conveyed to her house. The wedding takes 
place at night. Towards evening the bridegroom, dressed in a costly 
robe wearing two Bashingams and holding a sword in his right hand, is 
seated on a richly caparisoned mare. Before the procession starts to 
the bride's house the bridegroom's mother feeds the mare, washes 
her feet and bedaubs them with Kunkum. 

On the arrival of the procession at the bride's house, a festoon of 
mango leaves (toran) and a wooden sparrow are hung at the entrance door 
and are struck by the bridegroom with the sword in his hand or with 
a twig of Nim (Melia indica). After the bride's mother has washed 
the mare's feet and smeared the bridegroom's eyes with lamp black, 
he is made to dismount and stand on a wooden stool outside the 



Marwadi 495 

entrance door. The bride is brought by her maternal uncle in his 
arms and ca.«ried three times round tiie bridegroom. She is then 
made to stand to the right of the bridegroom and their garments are 
knotted by the officiating priest. This over, the bridal pair enter the 
house, the bride leading the way, and are seated side by side before 
the marriage deity (deWak), the bride to the right of her husband. 
After the deity has been worshipped, the lucky string (mangahutra) 
is tied about the bride,' s neck, and ivory bracelets are put on her 
wrist, by the officiating Brahmin. Homa, or sacrificial fire, is kindled 
and ^e bride's parents perform Kmyadan, or the formal entrusting of 
their daughter to the care of her husband. The bride, followed by the 
bridegroom, walks six times round the sacred fire, and resumes her 
seat, the bridegroom being seated on her left. Here, in the presence 
of all the relatives, the bridegroom offers to take the bride to his left 
side on condition that she promises to be ever faithful, obedient and 
loving to him. The bride, on exacting a like promise from the bride- 
groom, gives her consent and the happy couple circumambulate the 
fire the 7th time, the bridegroom on this occasion leading the way. 
This last roun^ is deemed the essential or binding portion of the 
ceremony and cements their alliance, the bride in future being pri- 
vileged to sit to the left of her husband. Neither widow marriage 
nor divorce is recognised by the caste. 

Religion The majority t)f the Mahesaris are Vaishnawas both 

of the Vallabhacharya and the Ramanand sects. A few belong to 
the Digamber sect of Jains. These sectarian differences, however, 
offer no bar to intermarriages and the girl after marriage is ad- 
mitted to the sect of her husband. The special deity of the Vaish- 
navas is Balaji, or the juvenile form of Shri Krishna worshipped in 
the month of Aswin (October-November). Those who are Jains 
worship the 24 Tirthankars, among whom prominence is given to the 
last Tirthankars, Parasnath and Mahabir. Channyati Brahmins are 
employed as priests. Besides these, they worship all the Hindu deities 
and keep all Hindu festivals. Their special festival, however, is Holi, 
celebrated on the 1 5th of Falgun (March-April). On this occa- 
sion men and women give themselves up to devilish mirth, abandoning 
all ideas of modesty and decency. An obscene figure of Nalhuram 



496 Marwadi 

is set up and its worship forms the order of the day. Women, wish- 
ing to be fertile, are said to strip themselves naked ■, and embrace 
the figure. 

Disposal of the D/sad — The dead are burnt in a lying position. 
The ashes are thrown into the river Ganges. Daily Shradh is per- 
formed in honour of the deceased from the 3rd to the 12th day 
after death and on the 1 3th a grand feast is given to which all the 
caste people are invited. Children dying under five years of age 
are buried. When a Mahesari dies all the male members of his 
family are required to shave their heads and moustaches. ^ 

Occupation — Whatever may have been their original occupa- 
tion they are now engaged as shop-keepers, money-lenders and in 
other commercial pursuits. None of them are Zamindars; and their 
relation to land extends to mortgages of lands and jagirs. 

Social Status — Socially the Marwadi Baniyas rank next to 
Brahmins and all the inferior castes accept food from their hands. 
Brahmins eat pakkf prepared by these people. The members of 
the sub-caste abstain from eating flesh or drinking wine. They are 
even said to abstain from the use of garlic, carrots ,and onions. 



LXX-B 

Marwadi-Agarwal 

(Titles : — Set and Lai.) 

The Agarwals take their name from Raja Agarsen, who is sup- 
posed to have been a descendant of Raja Dhanpal, the original ances- 
tor of the sub-caste. According to a legendary account, Kumud, king 
of the Nagas (serpents), gave his beautiful daughter Madhavi in 
marriage to Raja Agarsen in preference to Indra who was one of 
her suitors. The Raja performed seventeen sacrifices, each being 
attended with the birth of a son to him. Before the eighteenth 
sacrifice was completed, the Raja was so filled with disgust at the ani- 
mal slaughter it involved that he stopped it when half -finished. 
The seventeen sons became tlie founders of the 1 7 gotras, while the 
son born in virtue of the 18th sacrifice represented the half gotra 
Govin. 



Marwadi 497 

The names of the eighteen sections are as follows : — 

(1) Gargya (10) Air an 

(2) Govil (11) Tairan 

(3) Cawal (12) Thingal 

(4) Batsil (13) Tittal 

(5) Kasil (14) Mitral 

(6) Singhal. . (15) Tundal 

(7) Mangal . (16) Tayal 

(8) Bhaddal . (17) Gobhil 
(9^ Tingal (18) Covin. 

The snake is regarded as the maternal uncle by the members 
of these sections and is held in great honour, being neither killed nor 
molested. 

The Agarwalas are divided into two classes. (1) Bisa Agarwala 
and (2) Dasa Agarwala, the latter being the illegitimate offspring of 
an Agarwala by a Sudra woman. These two classes will neither 
interdine nor intermarry. 

Marriage. — Both infant and adult marriages are in vogue. 
Polygamy is theoVetically permitted but is rarely practised. Divorce 
is unknown. Widows are not allowed to marry again. A woman 
taken in adultery is expelled from the caste. The marriage cere- 
mony does not differ from that of the Mesris except that the bride 
is not carried round the bridegroom at the Torana but both make 
all the 7 pheras (circumambulations) round the sacrificial fire. 

Religion. — In matters of religion the Agarwalas are either 
Hindus of the Vaishnava sect, or Jains of the Digamber sect. As 
among the Mesris, intermarriages between the members of these two 
sects are freely allowed. Their special goddess is Laxmi, worship- 
ped in the Divali festival. Chunnayati (Marwari) Brahmins serve 
them as priests. 

The Agarwalas are an enterprising people and have spread all 
over the country. They are bankers, shop-keepers, money-lenders. 
The social status of the Agarwalas is as high as that of the Mesris 
and other mercantile classes of Marwar. 



32 



498 Marwadi 

LXX-C 

Marwadi-Oswal 

The Oswal, like the Mesris, claim a Rajput descent, and derive 
their name from Osia or Osa Nagar in Marwar. The bulk of 
Oswals follow the tenets of the Shwetambar sects of Jains. They 
pay homage to Parasnath, Mahabirs and other Tirthankars or Jain 
prophets. Their priests are Jatis, or Ja-in mendicants, who perform all 
the religious ceremonies for them. Girls are married as infants or 
adults. The marriage ceremony closely corresponds to that of the 
Agarwal caste. Widows are not allowed to remarry nor is 'divorce 
permitted. The dead are burnt, but no Shradha is performed 
to propitiate the souls of the deceased. They have several endoga- 
mous divisions, while their exogamous groups are unusually large. 
Only a few of the Oswals are Vaishanavas. They have the title 
Sing' attached to their names. 



LXX-D 

Marwadi-Porwal 

The Porwals are not so numerous in H. E. H. the Nizam's Domi- 
nions as are the foregoing classes They are said to have been 
jriginally Rajputs of Pal in Gujarath, but converted to Jainisra some 
700 years ago. They are principally traders and advance loans to 
the cultivators at exorbitant rates. In this respect they are a curse to 
their debtors. Their marriage ceremony resembles that of Oswals. 
High prices are sometimes taken by Porwals for their daughters, and 
if they can but get a high price they give away their daughters 
even to old men. Their women are not secluded as among the Agar- 
wals, Oswals and Mahesari castes. 

Besides these mercantile classes, other castes coming from 
Ivlarwad are found in the Hyderabad territory and are generally 
included among the Marwadi groups. They are (1) Marwadi Sonar, 
(2) Marwadi Darji, (3) Marwadi Lakhera, (4) Maha Brahmin. 
Marwadi Sonars — a gold-smith class who are said to have originally 
come from Bhenial in Marwad. They are divided into two sub- 
castes : (!) Med Sonjir, (2) Brahman Sonar. These do not intermarry 
nor eat or drink together. 



Marwadi 499 

LXX-E 
Marwadi-Med Sonar 

Med Sonars have a legend according to which they are the 
descendants of one Siksu, who was created by their family goddess 
from the dirt off her body in order to kill the demon Kanakasur. 
They have several exogamous groups, of which the following may 
be noticed as specimen : — • 

(1) Saidewada ' (10) Sunalya 

(2) Agroya. • (11) Buradya 
(3J Midya (12) Gogana 

(4) Soluwar (13) Babirwal 

(5) Khajawanya (14) Jilojya 

(6) Kadal (15) Kulatya 

(7) Dhuwad (16) Mosan 

(8) Jambenda (17) Soliwal 

(9) Sintawat (18) Bhama. 

The Med Son*rs allow their widows to marry again. On a 
dark night, between 1 2 and 1 , the bridegroom with his friends goes to 
the bride's house; After they have been entertained by the bride's 
people, the bride and the bridegroom are seated side by side on a 
bed with a sacrificial fire kindled in front of them. Oblations of 
ghi are offered to the fire goddess and the ends of their garments 
are knotted by the officiating Brahmin, whereupon the couple become 
husband and wife. They immediately repair to a Hanuman's temple 
where they stay till morning. Divorce is allowed and is effected by 
a divorce deed. The marriage expenses are recovered by the first 
husband. 

In matters of diet they have few scruples and eat flesh and drink 
spirits. 



LXX-F 
Marwadi-Brahman Sonar 

The Brahman Sonars allege that they were originally Kshatriyas 
who, having adopted the profession of a gold-smith, were degraded 
from the parent caste. They are believed to have been the offspring 



500 Marwadi 

of a man born of a Brahman father and a Sonar mother. They are 
Vaishanavaits and abstain from eating flesh and drinking liquors. 

Widows are not allowed to marry again. They have 84 
exogamous groups. A few of which are given below :— ^ 

(!) Bucha (7) Madora 

(2) Bahar (8) Lhajayora 

(3) Meda .(9) Mutaria 

(4) Katta (10) . Ladunwad 

(5) Jalora (1.1) Mewachya 

(6) Shukadiya (12) Chitiurora. i 
Brahman Sonars formerly intermarried with Oswal Mahajans. 

Both infant and adult marriages are recognised by the caste. The 
marriage ceremony is of the standard type prevalent among the higher 
Marwadi castes. Formerly the Sonar bridegrooms were not allowed 
to strike the Toran on horse back, but this right they have now 
secured in a court of law. Chunnayati Brahmins are employed as 
priests in the marriage ceremony. Their special fi;oddess is Chamunda, 
worshipped in the month of Aswin and on the first eight days oi the 
light half of Chait. Brahmins are employed for religious services. The 
dead are burnt and the ashes are thrown on the 3rd day after death 
into the river Ganges. Their original occupation is that of gold- 
smith. They are also traders and follow various other professions. 
They are said to have a dialect of their own which is not under- 
stood by outsiders. 



LXX-G 

Marwadi-Darzi 



Marwadi Darzis are mostly found in places where the Marwadi 
mahajans have settled. Their number is very small. They are 
divided into two sub-castes. (1) Pipa or Maru Darzi, (2) Namdeo 
Darzi. These two classes eat together but do not intermarry. The 
Pipa Darzis trace their descent from Pippaji, a Rajput, who is said 
to have adopted the profession of a Darzi. The Namdeo Darzis 
are the followers of Namdeo, who lived in the time of Aurangzebe. 
They also allege that they were formerly Rajputs (Kshatriyas) but 



Marwadi 501 

adopted their present profession after having escaped the extirpation 
of the Kshatriyas by Parashuram. In their customs they differ little 
from the Marwadi Sonars. 



LXX-H 
Marwadi-Lakheri 
The Lakheris are so cajled because they deal in lac and make 
lac bangles. They appear to have originally been Rajputs, who were 
degraded for following the. low occupation of bangle making. This 
view derives support from their worship of the Rajput deities and 
from their exogamous divisions, which bear the Rajput names of 
Panwar, Rathod, Chavan, Hattada, Bagdi, Padyar. Regarding 
their origin a legend says that the first Lakhera was produced by 
Mahadeo at Parwati's desire from the dirt off his body in order to 
make bangles. Mahadeo cut his finger and sprinkled the blood 
oozing from the wound on a Pipal tree. The blood immediately 
changed into lac and thus supplied materials for the bangles. The 
Lakhera women never use glass or ivory bangles, but only those made 
of lac, or sealing wax. They do not wear nose rings nor are their 
noses bored. In their customs and usages the Lcikheris resemble the 
Marwadi lower castes. Widows are allowed to marry again. Divorce 
prevails. Their profession is to make lac bangles, which they em- 
bellish with ornamental designs. Many have taken to agriculture. 
They use animal food, eating fowl, fish, mutton, etc. They do not 
eat the leavings of other people. Married women wear bodices 
with laced borders which distinguishes them from widows. 



LXX-I 

Marwadi Maha Brahman 
Maha Brahman, or Great Brahman — a contemptuous epithet ap- 
plied to those Brahmins who officiate at the funeral ceremonies of the 
respectable castes, claim the clothes thrown over the dead bodies when 
carried to be burnt and eat the food given in charity at) the close of 
the period of mourning. It is said that a mourner is never pure from 
funeral impurity unless he feeds a Maha Brahmin with his own hand 



502 Marwadi 

and unless the Maha Brahmin strokes his back. No other caste will 
eat from the hands of these Brahmins. Their touch also is regarded as 
unclean by the higher castes. They have got the same eponymous 
groups as other Brahmins, such as Shandilya, Bharadwaja and others. 
Polygamy is allowed. Widows are forbidden to remarry, and 
divorce is not recognised. They are the followers of the Shaiva 
sect and worship Mahadeo as their patron deity. They abstain from 
the use of liquor and meat. 



LXXI 

Mendicant Telegas 

Mendicant. Telagas-^A term selected to denote the low class 
of beggars originally recruited from the Munnurs, Mutrasis and other 
Telagl castes, but found, at the present day, to be completely sepa- 
rated from them. They comprise several groups, each bearing a 
distinct name based upon the particular device which its members have 
adopted for the purpose of extracting alms. The members of these 
different classes intermarry and eat together, follow the same system 
of exogamy as the parent castes and imitate, as far as possible, the 
higher Telugu castes in marriage and other customs. Although they 
profess to be Saiv»its or Vibhutidharis, in actual worship more rever- 
ence is accorded to the animistic deities than to the great gods of 
the Hindu pant'heon. After being ceremonially initiated into their 
respective orders, they are enjoined never to cut the hair 
of the head and beard. They are periodical wanderers, leaving 
their homes after Divali (October-November) and returning to them 
before the rainy season has set in. It is remarkable that these different 
classes show a tendency towards complete dissociation from one 
another and may, in course of time, be developed into distinct castes. 

Some of the more important of these beggar castes deserve 
separate description. 

Masan jogi — Known as Katibaglodu, or Katipappla in Telin- 
gana, are religious jugglers and conjurors who beg alms by exhibiting 
wonderful tricks of jugglery. Their dress of mendicancy consists of 
a long flowing ochre-coloured gown (Kalibatta) and a crown- like 
turban, decorated with peacock feathers and small brass cubes one 
inch long and about a quarter of an inch in diameter. The crown is 
studded all round with brass plates, each four inches in length. Round 
.their necks they put on a number of garlands, one being of Rudfaksha 



504 Mendicant Telegas 

beads (EIcBocarpm Ganitms), another of jingling bells and a third 
consisting of circular brass plates, the middle plate being embossed 
with the image of Krishna or Hanuman. They smear their foreheads 
with Vibhuti or cow-dung ashes. Thus equipped they ^o on their 
rounds ringing a large iron bell (Dhanman) to attract attention. When 
a sufficient number of spectators have assembled they take out from 
their zoli' (alms bag) a cowrie shell and two pieces of sheep bone. 
Holding the cowrie in one hand and making dexterous passes with the 
bones by the other, they produce from their mouths, a's if by magic or 
charm, all the gods of the 'Panchayatan' and, amidst the amusement 
and wonder of the beholders, deposit them on a small stool and wor- 
ship them with befitting solemnity. 

Regarding their origin the Masan Jogis tell the story that once 
upon a time a iVIunnur boy died and his parents, being too poor 
to defray his burial expenses, were in great distress. Shiva 
and Parvati, happening to visit the place, took pity on them, recalled 
the boy to life and made him a Masan Jogi, or the guardian saint of 
the cremation ground. Since that time, it is saifl tihat the descend- 
ants of the boy have claimed the burial clothes of corpses. 

Masan Jogis marry their daughters either as infants or as adults. 
Polygamy is allowed without any limit in theory. Widows may 
marry again and enjoy full freedom in their selection of a second 
husband. Divorce is recognised for adultery and divorced women 
are permitted to marry again by the same rite as widows. 

The characteristic deity of the caste is Pochamma, to whom goats 
are sacrificed when any sickness befalls a family. On the Sivaratri, 
or the last day of Magh (middle of February), they observe a fast and 
offer '. Puja to their head-gear, the emblem of their subsistence. . They 
do not employ Brahmins for ceremonial and religious observances and 
the duties of the priest are executed generally by Jangams and, failing 
them, by selected members of the caste. The dead are buried in 
a sitting pasture with the face to the east. No Sradha is 
performed, but the funeral ceremony consists of only a feast, 
given to the members of the caste on the third day after death. 

The caste ranks lower than all the respectable classes of Telan- 
gas and eat cooked food from the hands of Bhois, Kolis, 



Mendicant Telegas 505 

Kalals, Telis and other castes higher than these. They eat fowl, 
fish and mutton, but abstain from pork and beef. They indulge freely 
in liquor. They have a caste Pancha^at which is appealed to in 
cases of social disputes. 

Shdraddkani : — Another vagrant class of Telugu beggars who 
live by chanting songs in praise of Shri Ramchandra to the sound of 
two hollow brass rings called 'Andalu' worn on the left thumb, and 
an 'ektari' or one stringed njusica! instrument held in the right hand. 
They wear a necklace oi'rudraksha beads round their neck. Like Masan 
Jogis, Sharadakanis also claim to be descended from the Munnur caste. 
Another story makes them the descendants of Jangams who took to 
eating Hesh and drinking wine and were consequently degraded from 
their community. Sharadakanis admit into their caste members of 
Kapu, Golla, Munnur and other higher castes. Their daughters are 
married as infants as well as adults. Courtship prevails to a certain 
extent and if an unmarried girl becomes pregnant her lover is called 
upon to carry her. Adultery with a member of a higher caste is 
condoned by a fit!e and the girl i s married to a member 
of the caste by the 'Odaki' rite. Polygamy is permitted to any extent 
in theory. In the marriage ceremony an elder of the caste officiates 
as priest. Widow marriage is permitted and divorce is recognised. 
Neither Brahmins nor Jangams are employed for religious or ceremo- 
nial observances and the priestly functions are discharged by the elders 
of the caste. Special reverence is paid to Pochamma, Ellamma and 
other animistic deities. The dead are buried in a sitting posture, but 
no Sradha is performed for the benefit of the deceased. During 
the eight dry months they lead a wandering life, living in palmyra 
huts wherever they sojourn, but returning to their homes before the wet 
season sets in. Socially they rank very low, eating pork, fowl, fish, 
rats, lizards and the flesh of animals which die a natural death, and 
drinking strong liquors. They eat kflchi from the hands of all castes 
except Dhobis, Hajams, Panchadayis, Jingars, Malas, Madigas and 
other unclean classes. Only Malas and Madigas eat from the hands 
of the members of the caste. 

Bdlasantosha — literally 'those who please children' — are beggars 
and story-tellers, who go about wearing a long patchy gown decked 



506 Mendicant Telegas 

with glass pieces and solicit alms by ringing a bell, blowing a 
conch and singing songs which end monotonously in the, word 'balasan- 
tosh.' They claim descent from Lakshman, the brother of Rama, and 
allege that they wear the same garb in which Lakshman yas clothed 
while amusing Lava and Kusha, the sons of Rama. For the trans- 
port of their burdens from place to place they use Kavadis (bamboo 
sticks with slings at either end) carrying them on their shoulders. 

Adult marriage is practised and the marriage ceremony closely 
resembles that in use among the Sanyasi caste. A f5rice, amounting 
to Rs. 9, is paid for the bride. Having bathed and dressed in new 
clothes the bridal pair are seabed face to face and the bridegroom ties 
the N alla-poosulu (chain of black-beads) and Rudraksha ' necklace 
about the bride's neck, which constitutes the essential portion of the 
ceremony. The functions of the priest are performed by caste elders. 
Polygamy is allowed, a widow may marry again and divorce is recog- 
nised. The dead are taken in baskets to the place of burial. No 
Sradha is celebrated. Pochamma is their principal deity, worshipped 
with the sacrifice of sheep and offerings of cooked "rice. Socially they 
rank with Sanyasi, Masan Jogi and Sharadakani and eat the flesh 
of jackals, field rats, crocodiles, wild cats, pigs and animals that have 
died a natural death. 

Bahurupyd : — Jathikartha (lit. one who puts on many forms), 
recruited from the Mutrasi caste, are, vagrant beggars who collect alms 
by assuming various disguises and characters. Sometimes they appear 
in the disguise of a Lambada or a Marwadi and sometimes they are 
dressed up as an old woman or a dancing girl. Some of them are 
very skilful actors and earn a great amount of money and clothing. 
There are two classes of these beggars — Turki Jathi-Kartha, who are 
Mahomedans, and Telaga Jathi Kartha or Hindu Bahurupyas. In 
their customs and usages the Hindu Bahurupyas differ little from the 
other beggar castes. They are Saivas and worship Pochamma as 
their special deity. The dead are buried in a sitting posture, being 
carried to the grave in a gunny bag. 

Gorpalwad : — These are said to have been recruited from Puja 
GoUas. They beg alms exhibiting the goddess Amlawaru or El- 
lamma, whose image they carry on their heads in a bamboo basket. 



Mendicant Telegas 507 

Putting on female attire and decked from head to foot in brass jewels, 
they sing songs, in honour of their patron deity and, filled with the 
spirit of the goddess, they pretend to unfold the past and reveal the 
future. , 

TolubowalaWani : — Also called Badgi Jangam, earn money by 
exhibiting idols of leather and by a skilful contrivance making them 
dance to the music of cymbals and drums. They are recruited from 
the Munnur caste. They are. also said to be the illegitimate descen- 
dants of a Jangam father>and a Golla mother. 

Katti Bomalawaru : — So named because they exhibit wooden 
insteadi of leather idols. The word 'Katti' means wood in Telugu. 

Katbo : — A class of Carnatic beggars, identical with the Tollu 
Bomalawaru of Tehngana and following the same pursuit. They 
trace their origin to the attendants of Pandawas who, being unable 
to accompany their masters in exile, were advised to maintain them- 
selves by making the idols of Kauravas dance before the public. 
The Katbos are divided into two sub-castes, Katbo and Deshwar 
Katbo, between whom neither interdining nor inter-marriage is al- 
lowed. They admit into their community members of higher castes. 
Their special goddess is Ambabai, to whom mutton and cooked 
rice are offered, -the offerings being subsequently partaken of by the 
members of the household. At the Dasera festival they offer worship 
to leather dolls, the symbols of their profession. The dead are 
buried. No ' Sradha ' is performed but relatives are fed on the 
third day after death. Their social rank is as low as that of the 
other mendicant castes described under this section. 

Mandd Buchdwad :^— Beg only from Gollas by dancing round 
their herds of cattle to the sound of a 'Tutari,' or a musical pipe, 
and a 'Nagara,' or large drum. 

BhdgWat : — Entertain the public with dramatic performances 
based upon the life of Sri Krishna, as detailed in the Bhagv/at Purana. 
These simple religious dramas are in great favour with the masses. 

Vipranoru : — Are jugglers, performing their tricks only when a 
Brahman is present. They beg only from the Brahmin caste. 

Bairagis : — Are beggars who receive alms by performing on an 
'Ekatari,' or one stringed fiddle. They dress in ochre coloured 
clothes. 



LXXII 

MOCHI 

Mochi, Machigar, Chambhar, Chammar, Samgar — an occu- 
pational caste of shoe-makers cobblers and leather workers, pro- 
bably of Maratha origin, but at the ' present "day distributed 
in varying numbers all over the Domirfions. The synonyms above 
given represent names by which the caste is known in different 
localities. In the Telugu Districts the members of the caste are 
called Mochis or Machigar, a name derived from the Canarese word 
"Machi" meaning shoes. Carnatic leather workers are designated as 
Samgars, or Chamgar, supposed to be derived from the Sanskrit 
'Charmkar' while the shoe-makers of Maharashtra bear the name 
Chambhar, or Chammar, also a variant of the Sanskrit 'Charmkar. 
It should be borne in mind that the term Chafnmar is applied, in 
common speech, to all leather working classes including 'Dhors, who 
tan hides, and Madigas (Mangs), who make sandles; but these two 
are not to be confounded with Maratha Chambhars, or Mochis, who 
stand on a higher social level than either of them. Both the Dhor 
and the Madiga are ranked among the most unclean classes of Hindu 
society by reason of their skinning the carcasses of dead animals, 
tanning raw hides and eating carrion; but the Chambhar abstains from 
these, and works up leather already tanned; this circumstance has 
greatly helped to raise his social position, his touch not being regarded 
so impure as that of the Madiga or Dhor. 

Origiu — A tradition traces their origin to Rohidas or Harliya- 
noru, a great religious reformer who flourished at the end of the 
fourteenth century. Another legend, current among them, states 
that in the days of Basvanna there lived one Samgar Kalayya, who 
was a devout worshipper of the god Siva, and made shoes for his 
votaries. Pleased with his devotion the god bestowed upon him a 
boon by which a son was bom to him. Samgar Avaliya, as the boy 
was named, grew up and had three sons Bandeshat, Konduji and 



MOCHI 



509 



Tamaji, from whose descendants the present Samgar race is alleged 
to have sprung-. 

Internal Structure — The main endogamous groups of the 
caste are Chambhar, Mochi, and Samgar corresponding to, and 
dwelling respectively in Maharashtra, Telingana and the Carnatic, the 
three great ethnic divisions of H. E. H. the Nizam's territory. Other 
sub-castes have arisen either by intermarriages between the members 
of different main groups^ or fcy the immigration of the members of 
one group into 'the locality of another. The sub-caste Are Samgar 
may sprve as an illustration. The members of the sub-caste are 
'either descendants of Maratha Chambhars settled in early time in 
the Carnatic, or the result of intermarriages between Carnatic Samgars 
and Maratha Chambhars. The Telugu Mochis are divided into, 
Mochis and Jar Machigars, the latter mostly found in the Districts 
of Raichur and Gulbarga. The Maratha Chambhars have two 
sub-divisions, Chambhars and Vidur Chambhars, or the illegitimate 
offspring of the Chambhars. in the Carnatic the Samgar sub-caste 
is broken up into two hypergamous groups, Lingayit Samgars and 
Hindu Samgars, the former claiming social precedence over the latter 
from whom they take girls in marriage, but to whom they will not give 
their own daughters. Besides these there is a sub-caste named Boya 
Samgar, which is probably recruited from such Boyas or Bedars as 
have taken to shoe-making. 

The sections of the caste appear, for the most part, to be borrow- 
ed from the higher castes and throw no light upon their original 
affinities. 

type. 



The 


exogamous sections o 


if Mochis are of the territoria 


They are 


: — 






(1) 


Vangantawaru 


(8) 


Diganoi 


(2) 


Gogisagarwaru 


(9) 


Damgatimadi 


(3) 


Kotkundawaru 


(10) 


Garkantadoru 


(4) 


Talikotawaru 


(11) 


Nalwardon 


(5) 


Kodamarolu 


(12) 


Palkaltawaru 


(6) 


Atindaliwaru 


(13) 


Yadgirwaru 


(7) 


Devkar 


(14) 


Digaiwaru 



( 1 5) Chincholiwaru 



510 



MOCHI 



The exogamous sections of the Maratha Chambhars are :- 
Kavale (9) Dhadve . 

Gadkar 



(1) 
(2) 
(3) 
(4) 
(5) 
(6) 

(8) Khatave (16) Desman^. 

The Samgars profess to follow a ' double system of ejogamy 
comprising gotras and family names. 
The gotras are as follows :- 



Aswar (10) 

Gaikwad (11) 

Khandare (12) 

Apnuroni ( ' -'I 

Patel (14) 

Waghmare ('15) 



Soruse 

Inkare 

Jundade 

Landge 

Waghe 



(1) 


Dantawati 




(6) 


Shoundaliya 


(2) 


Nagawati 




(7) 


Dhanpala 


(3) 


Amaratavila 




(8) 


Badarkottav^aru 


(4) 


Namishetti 




(9) 


Shringari 


(5) 


Patavila 




(10) 


Chanpala 






(11) 


Neerla 


t. 






Family 


Names. 


• 


(1) 


Chalawaru 




(7) 


Narayenpurwaru 


(2) 


Chandragiriwaru 




(8) 


Badarkottawaru 


(3) 


Badarpurwaru 




(9) 


Gona Ayanaltuwaru 


(4) 


Dichpalliwaru 




(10) 


Kanitkartawaru 


(5) 


Elchirwaru 




(ID 


Devarkundawaru 


(6) 


Kotapalliwaru 




(12) 


Dentlawaru. 



It is not clearly understood how this double system serves to 
regulate their marriages. 

As a rule the section name goes by the father's side. Marriages 
within the section are strictly forbidden, and to supplement this rule 
of exogamy, the same table of prohibited degrees is observed by 
Mochis as by other castes. The daughter of a mother's brother or 
father's sister may be married. A man may marry two sisters pro- 
vided the elder is married first. So also two brothers are allowed to 
marry two sisters. 

Mochis admit! into their caste members of other castes higher 



MocHi 511 

than themselves in social standing. No special ceremony is per- 
formed on thi?, occasion. 

Marriage — Mochis marry their daughters either as infants, or 
after they Jiave attained the age of puberty. In the latter case sexual 
indiscretion before marriage is said to be tolerated and should a 
girl become pregnant she is allowed to marry, but her progeny are 
not admitted to the full rights of the caste. Sexual intercourse 
before puberty is allowed subject, however, to the performance of a 
ceremony at wiiich the tride's father entertains the bridegroom and 
his relations. Mochi girls ire not devoted to temples, nor dedicated 
to deities. When an adult girl goes, for the first time, to her hus- 
band's house, she is presented with zinc pots and her husband with a 
silver ring. A procession or 'Mirongi' is then formed to conduct the 
bridal pair to the bridegroom's house, the bridegroom riding on a 
bullock and the bride following him on foot. Polygamy is permitted 
and a man may have as many wives as he can afford to maintain. 

The marriage ceremony in vogue varies with the locality, but 
scarcely differs frohi that of other castes of the same social status. 
At a 'Paiiawala', or betrothal ceremony in Maharashtra, the caste 
Panchas are regaled with drink, which is regarded as confirmation of 
the marriage. Previous to marriage, village deities including Sitala 
Devi (the small-pox goddess) and their patron saint Rohidas are invoked 
to bless the couple. The wedding takes place under a booth, at 
the bride's house, Kany)adan, or the formal gift of the bride to the 
bridegroom, forming the essential portion of the ceremony. The 
marriage of Telugu shoe-makers is an imitation of the ritual followed 
by other Telugu castes. On the fourth day after wedding, when 
the bridal pair circumambulate the ' Nagbali ' circle, the Telugu 
bridegroom holds in his hand a nut-cracker, or some implement of 
husbandry . 

The Camatic ceremony includes the following rites : — 

(1) 'Hogitoppa' or the fixing of an auspicious date for the cele- 

bration of the wedding. 

(2) 'Devata Puja,' or the invocation of family and tutelary 

deities. 

(3) 'Uditamba,' or the betrothal ceremony. 



512 MocHi 

(4) 'Yaniarshani' : — the smearing of the bride and the bride- 

groom, previous to the wedding, with turtperic paste and 
oil. 

(5) "Maniavana' : — which corresponds to the Telugu.Mailapoiu. 

Four vessels are arranged in a square and a raw cotton 

thread is wound round them. The bridal pair are 
seated inside and bathed. 

(6) 'Matinoru' : — at which pearl water is sprinkled on the 

bridal pair. 

(7) 'Pancha Kalasha' : — five brass 'vessels are arranged on the 

ground, and encircled with thread. The bride and the 
bridegroom are seated inside side by side and wedded by 
a Jangam officiating as priest. This ceremony includes 
'Bashingam', 'tali,' ' kankanam ' and other rites of 
secondary importance. 

(8) 'Akikal' : The wedded pair throw rice on each others 

heads. 

(9) 'Bhum' : — Married women, whose husbands are living, are 

feasted in front of Panch Kalash.' 

(10) Mirongi : — the bridal procession which conducts the pair 

to the bridegroom's house. 

(11) Nagvely' : — Same as the Telugu Nagvely. 

(12) 'Chagol' : — Bridal feast at which a goat is sacrificed. 
Among Canarese shoe-makers ' Teru ' or the bride price, varying 

in amount from Rs. 20 to Rs. 30, is paid by the bridegroom to the 
bride's father. 

Widows may marry again. They are not restricted by any 
condition in their selection of a second husband, provided they strictly, 
conform to the rule of exogamy. The ceremony is very simple. 
On a dark night the bridegroom goes to the widow's house, ties pusti 
or Mangalsutra round her neck, makes her a present of clothes and 
bangles and early the next morning brings her home. A singular 
custom is observed when a bachelor marries a widow. Before going 
to the widow's house he is formally married to a 'ruchaki' or 'rui' 
plant (Calotropis gigantea) as if it were his bride. Divorce is per- 
mitted on the ground of the wife's unchastity or the husband's in- 



MocHi 5 1 3 

ability to maintain her. It is effected by sending the woman out of 
the house in the. presence of the caste council. If the wife claims 
divorce she is made to pay to her husband half the expenses incurred 
by him upon lier marriage. A woman having an intrigue with a man 
of a low caste is punished by expulsion from her own caste. 
Adultery with a man of her own caste or of a higher caste may be 
tolerated, the woman being punished, in the latter case, by a small 
fine, while in the former her paramour is compelled to pay her husband 
half the expenses of her marriage with him. 

Inhyitance — The Mochis follow the Hindu law of inheritance. 
In making a division of property the eldest son gets an extra share or 
'Jethang'. According to custom, a sister's son, if made a son-in-law, 
is entitled to a share in his father-in-law's property, and in case the 
latter dies without issue, he inherits the whole property subject, how- 
ever, to the claims of his father-in-law's widows. 

Religion — The Mochis are almost all Vibhutidharis, but Tirma- 
nidharis or Vaishnavaits are occasionally found among them. Most 
of the Carnatic shoemakers belong to the Lingayit sect. Special 
reverence is paid by, the members of the caste to their saintly ancestor 
Rohidas, to whom offerings of sweetmeat, wine and goats are made 
every Sunday. On the Dasera day goats are offered to the imple- 
ments of their trade. Pochamma and Ellamma are appeased when 
epidemics of cholera or small-pox break out. The Maratha Cham- 
bhars worship Mari Amma and Sitala. Previous to a marriage, they 
proceed on foot to the shrine of the goddess Sitala which they circum- 
ambulate five times. At the Divali festival, females adore Gauramma, 
the goddess who presides over married life. In the Carnatic, Jangams 
officiate as priests, but in other districts Brahmins are employed for 
religious and ceremonial purposes. These Brahmins bathe before they 
join their own community. A girl on attaining puberty is ceremonially 
unclean for five days. A child is named on the thirteenth day -after 
birth. 

Funerals The dead are buried, manied persons in a sitting 

posture with the face turned towards the north and the unmarried in 
a lying posture with the head to the south. Women, dying 
in pregnancy or in child birth, are burned. In the case of agnates 
33 



514 MocHi 

mourning is observed ten days for adults and three days for children. 
On the third day after death a Jangam is called in to worship the 
mound erected over the remains of the dead person. Rice, curds, 
sweetmeats, flowers and roasted grain are offered, whereupon the 
chief mourner shaves his moustaches and becomes ceremta^;lly clean. 
On the Pitra Amawasya day, a feast is given to caste brethren in 
the name of the departed person. No regular sradha is celebrated 
by Mochis, either during mourning or on the anniversary day. 

Social Status. — In point of social standing the Mochis occupy 
a very low position in the Hindu caste system. No caste except the 
Madiga or Mala will eat food cooke'd by them, while they them- 
selves will take food from any Hindu caste, except the Jingar, Hajam, 
Dhobi, Panchadayi and the specially unclean castes of Dhors, Malas, 
Madigas and a few others. Their touch is held to be unclean and 
hence they are obliged to live on the outskirts of villages. Although 
the village barber occasionally shaves their head and the village 
washerman ^vashes their clothes, both have subsequently to undergo 
ablution owing to the defilement caused by the Mochi's touch. The 
Mochis eat pork, fowl, fish, mutton and even the flesh of animals 
dying a natural death, and indulge freely in strong drinks. 

Occupation — The original occupation of the caste is to make 
shoes and other leather articles such as boxes, harness, saddles and 
portmant